- 1. Block 15-30 minutes morning, noon and night when you can do a review of your email and other online activities to consider any responses, updates or change to your task list for the day. This may seem like very little time for some but once you train yourself to work within that time frame, you will notice an increased effectiveness in your productivity and a new speed to the items you tick off the proverbial to-do list.
- 2. Do not underestimate the functionality of your calendar. Set it up right now with all your birthday and anniversary reminders, bill payments, monthly meetings and all other important dates. Sync it up with your phone or if you are like me and still like to maintain a diary then ensure you update them both on a daily basis. Check in on your calendar thrice daily and you will be on top of things before you even know it.
- 3. Use your calendar for event invitations instead of a third party website. This way you will have the date and time blocked on your calendar and you can check in one place who your attendees will be. While using a third party website might mean cooler graphics, most do not sync with your personal email calendar, and you will have to set up a notification mail for when folks respond (who wants more mail?) or log into the website to check each time (who wants more sites to log on to?)
- 4. Blogging, photo-blogging or other avenues you use to express yourself in www fashion are time consuming and draining. Choose to proceed with them only if you have the resources to do so and by this I mean you need to take into account time, energy, effort, ideas and more. If a daily update is beyond your means then resort to maybe a weekly or fortnightly update. You can schedule your updates for certain dates and times and get all your blogging done in one go. If that is more your style, then consider blocking out a few hours on a specific day of the week that you might not be overloaded with other personal and professional commitments and use it to effectively populate your blog with posts.
- 5. Don’t forget that you can also save your mails in folders and this is great for keeping your job list in perspective. Only leave in your Inbox what you need to work on a.s.a.p. Everything else can go into a relevant folder to serve as a record or copy of the facts you need to work with but simply saving all your email in your Inbox can be sure fodder for confusion. This way, clearly organized folders containing emails pertaining to that subject are readily available for you to review without having to browse through a few 100 emails from all over the place to find what you want. While the search function might pull up some emails relevant to the keyword you punched in, it will not display the entire email chain specific to that subject.
- 6. Chat is a great functionality to have when you cannot necessarily call somebody but require immediate information and mailing would delay the process. But other than that, keep your chat off or remain on an ‘invisible’ status so you can choose who you want to interact with. Unnecessary chatting usually takes up many hours that could be productively used. If there is a purpose to a chat then consider fixing an appointment and a duration and list down the topics that are up for discussion, making your chat worth your time.
- 7. Technology has also provided many ways to ensure you can connect with people in real time. Try your hand at video chat whether you are collaborating with a colleague or speaking to family in another country. Saves you the time and energy wasted in multiple emails across several time zones to get a simple yes or no answer for your questions.
- 8. The Internet is here to help you with your life, not to take over. Use it in your social settings as well. Set up dates to meet folks. Set up reminders to call people. Nothing replaces the effect of face-to-face one-on-one human interaction!
Needless to say, my Inbox is almost always empty thanks to these steps and my to-do list never has more than 10 items that are immediately actionable! My calendar is my back-up buddy and I am able to focus on all my personal and proffesional pursuits effectively.