I'm currently going through a re-vamping, refining, and re-evaluating phase of all my business and productivity systems, and I thought it might be useful to you if I shared some ideas I'm trying out.
I'm telling you right up front these items are EXPERIMENTAL. If they prove successful, I'll have more to say here in the future about them.
1.Three-Sentence Emails. I have tried this one before, abandoned it, and am now giving it another go. If you receive a lot of email, you know what it's like to feel overloaded by it. This is a personal policy that all email responses (regardless of recipient or subject ) will be three sentences or less. Read more at http://three.sentenc.es/ Here's my latest twist: While I am practicing this policy, I have not included the e-mail signature explaining it. So far, I have not received a single complaint. Apparently, nobody is upset that my e-mails are not long enough.
2. Fifteen Minute Meetings. Most meetings will be 15 minutes or less. That's my default meeting length. If it needs to be longer, we can negotiate in 15 minute blocks. If it needs to be longer than 45 minutes, we'd better be working on something like the Middle East Peace Talks or nuclear disarmament.
3. Free Days. This is something I have tried to enforce in days gone by, failed, “reset the clock”, and tried again. I “fell of the wagon” on this one again recently. Embarrassing. But, as it says in the Book of Proverbs, “though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again”. So here's the practice I'm aiming for… a “free day” is one in which there is no business activity of any kind: no emails, no blogs, no IMs, no phone calls, no reading articles, no business books… nothing. Right now, I have at least one scheduled Free Day per week (Sundays). The purpose is to allow for real refreshing, rejuvenation, and creativity to arise. My goal is to eventually reach 3 Free Days per week. This does not mean that I'll be spending 3 days a week doing nothing... these days will be filled with family time, spiritual and charitable pursuits, and yes, even recreation. For more on this, see Dan Sullivan's “The Time Breakthrough”.
Question: what productivity tricks have you been testing lately, and what is working well?