Today, instead of talking about new technologies, let's see how we deal with current ones to better manage our lives at work.
Here is how Alison Overholt starts her story.
Feeling overworked? Overwhelmed? The dirty little secret of the slow-growth economy is that most of us are busier than ever: We're doing our jobs, plus the jobs of one or two gone-but-not-replaced colleagues -- and doing it all with less support. How do we manage to stay sane in the face of such crazy demands?
To answer these questions, the author interviewed several really busy executives from Cingular Wireless, IBM or Sun Microsystems. Their stories and the techniques they use to manage their time vary, but can be summarized by the following six guidelines.
The writer prefers to qualify these guidelines as "a survival guide for executives who are expected to meet impossible expectations." Here they are.
1. One size does not fit all. Cingular Wireless CEO Stephen Carter handles almost every incoming email in real time; Sun Microsystems EVP Marissa Peterson checks email just twice a day. When it comes to multitasking, no single solution works for everyone. Pick the tactic that's best for you.
2. Paper piles only grow. When you get a paper report or memo, deal with it, then file it or hand it off. Piles of paper make for more work.
3. Heading to a meeting? Go unplugged. When you meet with someone, you're using a nonrenewable resource: your time. Don't let cell-phone or pager interruptions waste it.
4. The next killer business app? Instant messaging. IM is faster than email and just as inclusive. Its beauty lies in its simplicity. Think of it as the online equivalent of an elevator conversation.
5. Delegate: It's the ultimate time-saver. Investing in frequent communications with your staff -- lunch meetings, daily emails -- yields big dividends. Your staff members can't lighten your load if they're out of the loop.
6. Working in hard-to-reach territories? Voice-mail it. Voice mail is more dependable than email and better for keeping globe-trotting executives emotionally connected with the home team.
I hope you'll find these rules useful before returning to your office tomorrow.
Source: Alison Overholt, Fast Company, Issue 63, October 2002
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