Are you inundated with emails, meetings and other less productive intrusions in every day? What can you do about it?
Clearly the Executives at P&G do not completely eliminate emails or meetings and neither should you. But how can you handle these in the most effective manner?
As you will quickly see, these recommended actions apply to meetings as well and both can significantly clear up time for more in-depth thinking about the business.
1. # As in all areas, start with the right focus. This will come from the strategic business plan. You will find emails on many different subjects in your files. You can quickly identify the ones that that are based on the plan. Eliminate all other emails that don’t come from the actions on the plan. This supports the focus. If anything is REALLY important, it will show up again.
# Insist that all emails be action oriented, either as a recommendation or a summary with conclusions. There are just too many “nice to know” or “thought you might be interested” emails. Stop them. If they don’t have action to drive business growth, they are a waste of your time.
# Eliminate almost all of the “Reply to All” emails. They just clutter everyone’s Inbox and encourage others to hit the “Reply to All” tab, thereby further adding to the clutter.
# Don’t start the day with an email review. You have important activities to perform and they must demand your best time and not be cut short at the end of the day. Set aside a specific block of time later in the day and hold to it. Too often “just 10 minutes” turns into two hours.
# Be judicious. Don’t take the emails home with you to spend the evening in front of the computer. If you have something really important, do it. The rest will wait until the next day.
c) Scott Adams
Meetings, meetings, meetings. So much time is wasted in meetings. Several years ago there was a book titled, “If you want shorter meetings, don’t have chairs”. There is some truth to that. Many of the recommendations about emails apply to meetings as well. With the right plan and effective delegation meetings can be focused and very productive. Get the right plan.
Hopefully you will not view this article as just another workflow improvement message. It is designed to help your productivity and that of your teams. It is recognized that generally while you and your team have the abilities, you have neither the time currently nor the procedures to be able to implement this plan.
Unfortunately, many companies do not make the necessary changes and just keep trying to wade through all the various clutters.
Don’t do that. Bring in an experienced consultant to help you work the plan and establish the right focus and priorities. While the business will prosper, your peace of mind and freed time alone is worth the effort.
Founder and Managing Director of Moon & Stars Consulting
President Maver Management Group