Inefficiency drives me bonkers. I hate wasting time. Yet, there seems to be this thriving illusion in this culture that if we meet more, email more, create more spreadsheets, discuss and strategize more, we get more done. Wrong! Meanwhile, all I can think of during the meeting, discussing, emailing, strategizing is this: I could have gotten so much done by now.
I have no idea how other people get things done, but here’s a general look at my life philosophy to maintaining efficiency and productivity:
Eliminate unnecessary meetings. Most people who have known me for more than 5 minutes know that one of my biggest pet peeves is the request of an unnecessary meeting. Meeting for meeting’s sake is ridiculous. Before you book a meeting, ask yourself: WHY do we need to meet in person? There are many reasons for meeting in person: team building, morale building, discussing controversial or sensitive topics, discussing issues that require group input. The majority of meetings, however, don’t fall under these categories. Can it be done over email or phone, even Skype or iChat? Remember that a meeting is never “just 15 minutes” — there’s prep time, drive time, return time, then the 20 minutes it takes you to get back into the swing of the important stuff back at the office.
Think before you send an email. I’m totally guilty of doing this: sending an email and immediately sending another one because I forgot to add a detail. But there are people who do it all the time. Before you hit send, condense your thoughts, organize them, stop with the written diarrhea. And outside of work, if your personal email is the length of a short story, pick up the phone and call.
Don’t respond to every email. That’s right. I get hundreds of emails a day, thousands of emails a week, and I don’t respond to every one, only the ones that require a response. No guilt.
Don’t respond to Facebook messages. I don’t read most of my Facebook messages. I get so much spam and ridiculous group messages that it only makes me angry to even open my FB inbox, so I try to avoid it all together. I have 10 different email addresses that I review for necessary communication so I figure if it’s really important, people will email or call.
Eliminate unnecessary paperwork. A certain degree of paperwork is necessary, and I love spreadsheets as much as the next nerd, but sometimes there just doesn’t need to be a paper trail. In many cases, it only leads to confusion, anxiety, additional work, and wasted time.
Understand that everyone works differently. Just as I am not a fan of the forced 40-hour work week, I am not a fan of forced protocol. Certainly there are procedures and processes that need to be put in place to run a committee, organization, company smoothly; however at the end of the day, as long as the work gets done, that’s all that matters, isn’t it?
Stop over-anayzing, over-thinking, over-discussing. In most cases, you know what needs to be done, so just stop talking about it over and over, and just get the shit done already. The end.
There you go.
What about you: how do you get it all done?