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Email, Gmail, and other Focus Issues


Last week I responded to a post from Mike St. Pierre at The Daily Saint.  I was honored when I found the next day his follow-up post was in response to my comment.   “The best of intentions leave many of us guilty of over-socializing. Before you know it the next actions you had scheduled to complete that day were cut in half and all because you simply lost focus. So, how can we maintain focus during the day?”And his response post is here to that question.  Thanks Mike!   On another note – what do those of you use at work vs. home – are you able to sync up your Outlook with Gmail successfully?  And what do you do to keep the focus away from putting out fires on email all day? 



Cut the Chit Chat

Today’s guest post is from Mike St. Pierre of The Daily Saint. 

If you could measure how much chit-chat goes into an average workday, would you then keep it up or cut down on it?  When four veteran employees were fired last May due to excessive gossip at work, people were outraged.  At the end of the day, it was a good reminder that productivity does matter.  It appears that the high school girls who ruined your reputation in 10th grade have grown up and not kicked the habit.

If GTD has done anything for the productivity world, it’s enhanced our awareness of the need to stay focused at work, do one thing at a time, and handle interruptions with ease.  Today’s insight is simple: do more at work by talking less to those around you.  I’m not advocating a sort of monasticwork-flow where we light candles and speak for only an hour after lunch.  Rather, it seems to make sense that we talk when we need to rather than as an escape from our work.

I see many people who stay in a conversation just a bit longer than they need to.  It’s a sort of luxury that folks enjoy in order to delay work.  Fascinating but true.

Some suggestions for getting things done today while using fewer words:

  • Keep your door closed for one solid hour while you crank out some work.
  • Go for a walk around the block after lunch instead of chatting by the water cooler.
  • Buy a pair of headphones and use at your discretion.
  • Put a sign on the back of your chair that says, “Please do not interrupt- power hour in process.”