We provide a technique to help you become more productive, not just with emails, but with everyday tasks too.
You have just returned to the office after a holiday. You are feeling refreshed, serene, practically horizontal. You permit yourself a soft start, taking your time to regale colleagues with interesting anecdotes from your travels and brew yourself a coffee. You finally make your way to your desk, sit down and open your inbox… HOW MANY EMAILS NOW?! Alas - horizontal no more!
Here is a computing productivity tip as old as they come. It is useful to adopt in scenarios such as the above, when you are playing catch up. It is also a great method to use if you struggle with procrastination. Enter the 'one touch' approach. The 'one touch' technique dictates that once you have ‘touched’ on a task, you deal with it there and then. So in terms of emails, when you open a message you respond to it right away. Now obviously it cannot be applied to work in all situations. You may not have all the information you need to respond or take action. But on the whole, it is far more efficient to adopt the ‘one touch’ method. You don’t waste time reading the same email over again, you don’t have the burden of the contents of the email hanging over your head and the email will not be overlooked if you forget to mark it as unread.
We advise adopting this approach within specific time slots. Schedule in certain parts of your day dedicated to dealing with emails. It is far more productive this way. It allows you to be fully present and focussed with the rest of your to-do list, rather than being constantly disrupted by a drip feed from your inbox.
The one touch technique is not limited to emails. Try it out in different areas of your work and/or personal life. It keeps you focussed and feeling in control, when the sheer volume of your to do list could make you feel daunted and overwhelmed. It keeps you accountable and avoids procrastination.