“Inbox zero” is a concept that effectively triages your inbox so that you can achieve better productivity.
No more “675 unread emails” for you! Here’s how it works:
“Inbox Zero” is a term that was coined by productivity evangelist, Merlin Mann, who gave a popular Google Tech Talk on the subject in 2007. Since then, there have been several different methodologies proposed for achieving inbox zero, so you can choose the method you prefer.
What is inbox zero? It’s a system for organizing and filing email messages quickly. You label and triage emails so that you reach and maintain the coveted status of an empty inbox every day.
It’s important to note here that Mann’s premise isn’t to fanatically keep your inbox at zero, but the term refers to the amount of time an employee’s brain is in their inbox.
Checklists are not just for uber-organized people.
Rather, they are tools to dramatically increase your speed.
There’s something satisfying about checking off the items on a checklist. Beyond the sheer satisfaction though, what if using checklists could actually make you smarter and more productive?
Smarter and faster? Here’s how that works:
Checklists reduce mistakes
One of the common uses of checklists in workplace situations is for complex tasks. In his book The Checklist Manifesto, author and surgeon Atul Gawande explores the use of checklists in daily and professional life.
He points out that even the most basic mistakes can have a cumulative effect, leading to something more serious later on. And that’s one of the reasons airline pilots rely on checklists before every single flight.
It doesn’t matter if an airline pilot has flown the same route in the same aircraft hundreds of times, they...
Yet their influence moves through your imagination when you’re not paying attention.
In this way, we can gain glimpses of insight that are quite useful to our daily lives. Essentially, you get a feeling that you “know something,” but without knowing exactly why.
That knowing comes from processing ideas and mental associations at a volume far too great to hold in conscious thought.
When you take a shower, wash the dishes, or drive home while listening to music, your mind may be processing a problem even though you have let go of the conscious effort of deliberate thought.
Your mind wanders into what neuroscientists have begun calling “the default network.” It’s a mode of thinking based in imagination, discovering loose associations, and processing nuances of your social world.
The number of associations your brain cross checks against other ideas, hopes,...
Who influences your productivity “set point?”
Here’s what I’ve noticed. The company you keep is a good predictor of how productive you are.
How do your peers influence your productivity?
Let’s begin with a quick story. Holly was a skilled developer who was hired into her dream job - working for a well-known Silicon Valley company.
She quickly immersed herself in the busy work environment and was impressed with how the team pulled together to efficiently tackle projects. Everyone was dedicated to their work.
Seeing this, Holly worked harder. She was chosen for some key projects and found that as her reputation grew, she was offered more challenging projects.
She described how this group thrived on both teamwork ...
There’s one secret shared by the most successful entrepreneurs I’ve met.
Here’s what the most successful entrepreneurs do differently…
They repeatedly identify and remove bottlenecks. They focus 90% of their attention on just two things:
As a productivity coach, this was a rather embarrassing lesson for me to learn. Because I thought I was the solution to their productivity goals.
I thought that if I could just get the business owner to be more productive with their own time, everything else would fall into place. They would be so overjoyed with my services that they would...
In my daily life, I often work through decision-making processes with clients. One of the common issues is uncertainty about making potentially risky decisions, especially in business.
One thing we usually discuss is that there is really no such thing as business opportunity without risk. Have you ever heard an enthusiastic startup claim that they have a huge opportunity with hardly any risk or competition? In my experience, this isn’t usually accurate.
The general rule with any business is that either you have a strong market for an idea, therefore you probably do have competition, or you’re headed into murky waters without a clearly defined market. Either way presents a risk. Essentially, risk and opportunity are two sides of the same coin.
So how do you decide which opportunities are worthwhile?
The nature of entrepreneurship is that you often enter into situations that...
They say stress is the constant affliction of the hurried.
I believe that, because I’ve experienced it myself. And I hate feeling stressed.
But in this article I’m going to show you how to work faster without increasing your stress.
Upon closer examination, I’ve realized that hurrying itself is not the problem. In fact, I enjoy working at a fast pace. I like breaking speed limits to get more done in less time.
So that raises the question, if hurrying is not the cause of stress, then what is?
Well, here’s what I’ve noticed.
Stress is actually caused by the prospect of not finishing something on time. It’s the natural response to the perception that there is a potential failure looming in your future.
It’s the feeling that something matters to you but you don’t have enough control to guarantee it’ll turn out the way you want.
The more you care about something, the more it stresses you out when you are behind schedule.
And if one...
The health of business partner relationships can make or break a business.
Most of the time, your business partnership begins full of optimism. You have hopes for building a wildly successful business and you see many possibilities.
However, there will always be ups and downs in business and this is where those partnerships are truly tested. It’s easy to work harmoniously while things are going well, but business or personal challenges can cause relationship strain.
It's easy to find examples of very public falling-outs between business partners. In fact, data suggests the business partner “divorce rate” is as high as 80%!
Ideally, you don’t want to be in a position where there are “irreconcilable differences,” so it’s important to work on building healthy partnerships in the first place.
Talk to any...
Are you happy with your life direction?
It’s a question most people land on at some point in their lives.
Whether you’re not completely sold on the career path you’re heading down, or you’ve lost your usual zest for things that once brought enthusiasm, it’s common to question your choices.
Sometimes key life changes or differing circumstances trigger you to question what you’re doing. Sometimes you look around and see other people who seem to be comparatively happier, or more successful. You wonder, "Have I taken the wrong path?"
The tricky thing is that the answers to those tough questions take some introspection. No one can give you the answers, but we can look at a few aspects of the human condition that can help you reach your own important insights.
We can look at how our innate biases impact your decision about what to do next.
Any time is a good time to set and manage goals, but the beginning of a new year is often a trigger for people to assess where they’re heading.
We’ve all heard of “New Year’s resolutions,” perhaps you’ve even set some yourself. How successful were you in achieving them? The numbers for people “falling off the wagon” are telling - around 80% of resolutions have failed by February.
We know that the secret to making resolutions stick is not to make resolutions at all. Why? Resolutions tend to be ill-defined ideas such as “lose weight” or “work out more often.” They fail because there are no clear parameters, steps, or measurable outputs. The human brain is wired to prefer the same old routine, so it’s difficult to get results without a good plan.
Goal-setting is much more effective, particularly if those goals are clearly defined. Visualizing your way to those goals is a strategy that has been proven to be...