4. Lists. I believe that my mind is sharper than it's ever been. Sharp doesn't necessarily mean that I can remember everything I need to do each day, week and month, and you can't arbitrarily decide which things to write down and which things to remember. So I have a no exception policy where everything I need to do is committed to a list. As with the calendar, I use a list that syncs between my computers and mobile devices and my choice is the Wunderlist app. I use Wunderlist because it has folders, an unlimited number of lists that can be included in each folder, and each list accommodates a sub list, notes and attachments. I also utilize the due date and reminder options and sort the items in my lists by due date. I would be lost without Wunderlist.
5. Auto Responder. I turn on my email's auto responder whenever I will be unable to respond to emails for 6 business hours or more. I don't want to appear unresponsive and my message tells people who they can contact in my absence and when they can expect to hear back from me. I don't have to apologize when I finally do respond and that saves unnecessary typing as well.
6. Rituals. In order to be productive, I know that I must wake up at the same time each morning. My default is 5:30 AM, which gives me an hour to respond to emails that came in overnight. I usually have a number of emails from OMG's overseas partners, as well as CEO's who choose to work late rather than start early. Most of my articles are written during this one-hour window in the morning as well.
7. Anti-Meeting. Most meetings are time wasters so I don't schedule many. I have two 10-minute morning huddle calls, one for the leadership teams of each company, at 8:15 AM and 8:30 AM and most of what needs to be communicated in either direction is accomplished during that time. I have a weekly product development meeting for OMG, a weekly sales/client projects meeting for Kurlan, and monthly and quarterly leadership meetings for OMG. Less is more.
8. Anti-Travel. Some travel is unavoidable but most of what I do can be done by phone, video conference, file share, internet based collaboration and more. Everyone is busy, travel wastes enormous amounts of time and money and it takes you away from family. Travel is a last option, not a first option.
9. Email. To limit incoming email that requires responding, there are a few things that help a lot. First, unsubscribe to everything that creates noise. Spam is impossible to unsubscribe from but if that's the only stuff in your junk folders you can do a quick review and mass delete each day. In order to do that, it's crucial that you first add senders that you want/need to hear from, but that might end up in your junk/spam folders, to your safe sender list. With that accomplished, you should utilize the Rules function of your email to automatically move emails that you receive every day, like newsletters, to a newsletter or subscription folder. I also have folders called "Waiting" and "Action." When I am waiting for a response from someone, I blind copy myself and move it to the waiting folder, and when someone is waiting for me to do something that email gets moved to the action folder and added to a list. I never save emails in my inbox. Instead, there are folders for every client and partner, for marketing, accounting, tools, subscriptions, etc., and emails that need to be saved are moved to the appropriate folder. Having thousands of emails in your inbox is not efficient!
10. Family. Nights and weekends are for family. Family dinners and watching our son's baseball and basketball games are my number 1 evening priority - not work. If I am behind, I may take an hour or two to catch up at night, but not until after we have spent quality time together at dinner.
I have 10 more tips on getting more done and will post them next month.
Do you have any tips that contribute to getting more done than anyone else? Add them to the comments below!