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Information overload is happening all around us today. We get too many mails, read too many notifications from social networks and at the same time try to post as many updates as we can on what we are doing. All this at the same time as we should maintain good workers munching through tasks as the Cookie Monster eat cookies. But how to stay on top of this and maximizing productivity? Should we break down tasks into microscopic parts just so that we will be able to check some of them off before we leave the office and get home?
Productivity today is not as much as finishing of tasks as to manage context switches. Zero inbox might be a goal for some but if you walk home without any idea what you did since you arrived zero inbox is doing you no good.
First of all and most important – stop checking your mail. Most of us have been lured into the trap that if we constantly check our email and keep notifications in our phones as soon as a mail arrive we can be more productive and act faster. Most of us who actually tried this have found however that this not the truth. By being interrupted every time anything happen we end up doing nothing else then trying to stay on top of what is going on instead of acting.
If you were to cut down on you mail checking to three times a day you would still be on top of that inbox wouldn’t you? The longest a mail would remain untouched in you inbox would be a couple of hours, that’s a fact. But do you get mad if you need to wait two hour on a mail after sending you question? Would you really?
Productivity today is not about finish the most tasks, it’s to switch between them with minimum loss. And the most efficient task switch is not to switch at all and instead finish what you do before you go for something else.