If you’re like me, you’ve probably skimmed through a variety of productivity tips every week, planned to take a closer look, and then forgotten about them by the weekend. But recently, I’ve made 3 key changes which have really helped my productivity by reducing the information overload we’re all experience between email, social networks and the constrant stream of new content being published.
1. Archive all emails older than 2012:
With the amount of emails I get on a daily basis, Inbox Zero seemed about as likely as taking a vacation in Narnia this year. Prior to the last two weeks, I’d kept trying to delete or respond all emails, but the number never seemed to drop below 1500 which was pretty overwhelming. By archiving I can reassure the librarian squirrel instinct in me the email is still searchable, but now I’ve got a far more manageable 200 emails left for 2012 to action or file for responses. Much less stressful, and suddenly my email looks more like an actual action list, rather than a mess.
2. Cut down on RSS:
RSS is not dead – it’s still the most effective content delivery system around. The problem is it’s too effective in allowing me to hoarde every possible website I enjoy, but noone has come up with a way to de-dupe the echo chamber that is particularly bad for tech blogs. So in addition to removing a number of sites I rarely get useful information or great entertainment from, I’ve also cut down on the number that constantly publish ‘me too’ coverage.
I’ve also resolved to only check RSS at the end of the day, when everything else is done or scheduled for the following day – I love keeping up with the latest news and the best articles and features, but I’m not running a site for breaking news, so I don’t really need to check RSS every 30 or 60 minutes these days.
3. Kill cross-platform duplication
I’ve suddenly realised that I read some sites via RSS, see their updates on Facebook and their tweets on Twitter, as well as an occasional appearance on Google+. And there are very few people in the world who I need to pay that close attention to.
I’ve finally been making use of the ‘Hide All By’ option next to every Facebook update, and it’s definitely helping in making it a more usable social network, and letting me actually use it to keep up with my friends. The brands I like still get a ‘Like’ for their page for what it’s worth, and I don’t have to be bombarded by updates from a 10-year-old film I listed on my profile years ago.
OK, so this isn’t the most comprehensive productivity toolset you’ll see, but importantly I’m getting much more done with probably 30 minutes of effort to archive emails, unsubscribe to some sites and hide some Facebook posts. That’s short enough that you don’t have to wait until next weekend to get it done…