I enabled the Clutter function in Outlook and OWA about a month ago. It uses artificial intelligence to puts mass emails and emails that you don’t usually open into a new Outlook email folder called Clutter. It works well. It’s been better than most Junk mail filters at deciding what to remove from my Inbox. I had thought, “I do want all my mass emails that I receive” and I still do, but having them in a different folder works.
The best part is, it puts everything which I wouldn’t want to be notified of in my Clutter folder. So, now I can set my phone to chime when personal emails come in, because my Inbox now only registers a new email when I get a personal email (since the mass emails now go into the Clutter folder). I have an Inbox, a Clutter folder, and a Junk folder to check, but that’s working out better than having just an Inbox and Junk.
I occasionally look at classified ads of companies seeking employees. In a large number of them, two things stick out as compromising the productivity and competitiveness of firms. Small decisions or non-decisions that lead to failing to change, add up.
First is location. Are you going to get creative employees if you’re located in an out-of-the-way location? How about not being on transit lines? Or being located distant from your desired hires? No. Heard about a non-profit that moved out of Dupont Circle, “Why would I want to stay? There’s no train, no parking, nowhere to eat lunch, and no one nearby to each lunch with!”
Second is technology choice. If you have too varied, legacy, or just plain unappealingly technology in your job descriptions, good candidates are going to look on to ads asking people to work with tools that will better develop their career potential. Cold Fusion and Lotus Notes come to mind. Consolidating on as few technologies attracts competent specialists. When I see an ad looking for someone to maintain a long list of software titles, I think, “Good luck finding someone willing to do that – never mind someone good at it.”
If you think you are saving money by having low rent and retaining old technology, you are likely being penny wise and dollar foolish.
I was enjoying the audiobook The Year Without Pants so much that I was hoping it would never end. Despite that, when about halfway through Pants, I began trying to decide between two books to listen to next. I was really torn between two.
Seemingly serendipitously, as I finished the last few minutes of Pants, the book I would listen to next was pretty much decided when Pants referred to one of the two books I was thinking about reading next. Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew Crawford had been on my reading/listening list for 4 years.
Soulcraft is related to Pants. They are both about the future of work. Pants is about how WordPress succeeds at remote work, and Soulcraft is about how on-site work is important. For a 2013 technology book like Pants to refer to the (ancient by technology book standards) four-year-old and not hugely-popular Soulcraft decided it for me. That tie between Pants and Soulcraft sealed my decision to listen to Soulcraft next.
If you concentrate on writing clearly and concisely, when it’s your role to weigh in, to only the people who need that information, you and your co-workers will get less email. When someone multi-tasking fires off an unclear email to 8 people, that will often generate 10 more emails rather than settle a matter as intended.
By trying to multi-task you often make your entire organization less productive. I often think, “That email was great for 2 people on the email list and completely confused the other 12. Now, someone is going to spend a lot more time cleaning that mess up.” All the recent studies have shown that multi-tasking is much less productive than deep concentration.
I can’t tell you how often I hear someone say that they can’t get any work done at the office. They have to get their REAL work done at home or on a plane. That’s a corporate communication culture problem that needs to be addressed. I’ll often say. “I don’t think that’s a meeting issue. We can solve that by email or phone in less time than it would take for us to prep and gather for a meeting.” Death by PowerPoint.
When someone responds to “How are you?” with “Busy” every time, I see that more as a time and lifestyle management problem than a point of pride. Skipping sleep does not make you more productive. All these little behaviors add up.