On of the rooms on the Austin Convention Center’s 4th floor held a block of fifteen minute presentations called ¨Future 15.¨ These presentations varied widely, but mainly focused on self improvement and career advancement (author’s note: this was the case for the sessions I was in Monday). One such presentation was given by Scott Hanselman and focused on tips to make yourself a better worker and more productive each day.
Because the session was a little rushed due to the time challenge, many of his tips were in bullet points, which are outlined below:
- Reflect on Friday, Plan on Monday: This helps ease stress and lets you evaluate what you’ve accomplished and what you are going to accomplish for the coming week.
- Do the rule of 3: list 3 things that you can accomplish each day. This gives you a sense of accomplishment.
- Identify data streams: Social networking, online groups, websites you visit everyday…think about what can be dropped from your schedule that aren’t productive or of benefit to you.
- Draw a line when things get stressful: Decide what is important and choose those first, always.
- On TV: You don’t have to binge watch shows. It’s okay not to watch Scandal. People binge watch then complain that they are too busy to do anything.
- Streamline your email: See cc as FYI, not as to-do list items. Have emails you are cc’ed on go directly to another folder, and only read them every other day.
- Don’t check email in the morning: You will get your entire day’s work done by 9-12 and then check your email after lunch. (author note: the audience gasped at this suggestion, but Hanselman says that ¨if the next 9/11 happens, someone will come and tell you.¨)
- Responding to email gets you more email.
- Don’t put your energy into things you don’t want more of.
- You teach people how to treat you: If you direct them all to email instead of meetings, they learn that’s how to communicate with you, for example. If you are responding to emails at 1 or 2 am, then people get used to that routine and will always expect you to respond.
- Schedule work sprints with the Pomodoro Technique
- You aren’t doing actual multitasking: Hanselman claims that people think they are multitasking but are only harming themselves. A physical task and mental task are the only things that can truly be multitasked: e.g. email and walking treadmill desk (Hanselman walks 10 miles per day on his), listening to podcasts while exercising, etc.
- Don’t set up ¨guilt systems¨ or monuments to your own failure: Stop trying to guilt yourself into doing something. Remove that stack of books on your nightstand that you haven’t read but you make yourself see every night.
- If it’s not helping you make money, throw it out [of your life].
Overall, the session was jam-packed with so many tips in just fifteen minutes. For a longer version, you can view the 42 minute talk he gave on the same topic on his blog.
Image via Shutterstock. Used under license.