Friday, August 29, 2008

Turning off the the notifications

Remember the post on Getting Things Done a couple of weeks ago?

Well, I'm still implementing the system at work and doing my best to get into the different routines. I'll probably write another post about it all later on when I think the system has "settled" more with me.

I just wanted to tell you how freeing it is to have decided to turn of the "you've got mail"-notifications in Outlook. I used to have the envelope popping up down right on my screen whenever something new landed in my inbox. It would, without exception, interrupt my flow and make me curious to see what the email was about. I'd leave whatever I was working on to go check it out. Then after reading, I'd leave it open or marked as "unread" if I needed to return to it, and then when I got back to whatever I was working on, I'd think about the email I got. About the things I'd have to do. What it meant for me. And my inbox would grow every day...

Now... Well, I don't see when an email arrives and I don't get interrupted. I check my emails when I decide to check my emails. And I only do that when I'm prepared to handle whatever email I get. 'Cause I don't leave emails in my inbox anymore.

If I don't reply to them immediately (which I will do if it takes me less than two minutes), I either place it in one of four folders (@action, @read, @awaiting or archive), save it to my computer, print it and place it in my "43 folders"-binder (my tickler file), print it out and save it in my archive, or make an action of it and place it in my "next action"-system of index cards.

(For a month now, I've left work every day with empty inboxes (the one in Outlook and the basket I have on my desk for incoming things I have to deal with). It feels good.)

Try turning those notifications off for a week and only check your emails when you actually have time to deal with them. Believe me, it'll make a difference in your focus at work. It's worth a shot!


Geek Knitter said...

I turned off my notifications too. It's a big help as far as staying focused. Another thing I'll do is set my phone to roll straight to voice-mail when I'm working on something complex. Now, if I could just find a way to keep people from stopping by the office...

Anonymous said...

It's good to realize that you are in control of the computer and not the other way around! :) -Shell