An Empty Inbox Does Not Equal Productivity

An Empty Inbox Does Not Equal Productivity

If you’re a regular reader, then you likely care about being more productive. And why shouldn’t you? The more productive you are, the more valuable you are to your company. But it’s time for us to think about how we measure that productivity.

One of the most common ways people measure productivity is by clearing out their inbox. If you’ve achieved “inbox zero,” then your day had to be productive, right? We’re here to tell you: that’s not entirely true. Instead of replying to all your messages, we can help you actually be productive.

  • Stop answering emails. If we lived in a world without emails, that would be the dream. But as I write this my inbox is filled with emails from work, from my personal life, and from any place I’ve ever shopped online. In a work setting, replying to emails right away shows that you’re being proactive. But you know what happens when you reply to someone’s email right away? They reply back and you could spend your whole day going back and forth with someone while your to-do list collects dust. Most emails you receive are not urgent and can sit for a few hours without incident. So let them! You have more important things to do.
  • Schedule downtime. It sounds counterintuitive, but you need to have downtime if you really want to be productive. Force yourself to take breaks by programming them into your calendar or setting a timer on your phone. Even if you only have time to watch one funny cat video, giving your brain a break will help you work more efficiently later.
  • Create something every day. Each day, you should be able to point to one important task you completed – so you never leave the office and wonder where the day went. This is especially useful if your supervisor happens to ask you that same question.
  • Stop staying late.  Leaving the office on time is actually a good thing. For one thing, it forces you to be great at time management. Get your tasks done in the time you have. Staying late is not a sign of dedication; it’s a sign that you’re not efficient.
  • Accept that you won’t finish all your tasks. This one seems scary but stick with us a second. What happens when you finish your to-do list? Well, you feel accomplished for one – but the next day you just have another list of tasks that you have to do. For as long as you work, you’ll always be doing something. So if you’re unable to finish everything, don’t panic.

These suggestions might have radically changed your idea of what it means to be productive. But if you’re getting more work done even though your inbox still has some messages in it, we’ll call that a win.

Liked this? Check out 10 Productivity Systems to Try!

Written by Roselyn Sebastian

If you’re a regular reader, then you likely care about being more productive. And why shouldn’t you? The more productive you are, the more valuable you are to your company. But it’s time for us to think about how we measure that productivity.

One of the most common ways people measure productivity is by clearing out their inbox. If you’ve achieved “inbox zero,” then your day had to be productive, right? We’re here to tell you: that’s not entirely true. Instead of replying to all your messages, we can help you actually be productive.

  • Stop answering emails. If we lived in a world without emails, that would be the dream. But as I write this my inbox is filled with emails from work, from my personal life, and from any place I’ve ever shopped online. In a work setting, replying to emails right away shows that you’re being proactive. But you know what happens when you reply to someone’s email right away? They reply back and you could spend your whole day going back and forth with someone while your to-do list collects dust. Most emails you receive are not urgent and can sit for a few hours without incident. So let them! You have more important things to do.
  • Schedule downtime. It sounds counterintuitive, but you need to have downtime if you really want to be productive. Force yourself to take breaks by programming them into your calendar or setting a timer on your phone. Even if you only have time to watch one funny cat video, giving your brain a break will help you work more efficiently later.
  • Create something every day. Each day, you should be able to point to one important task you completed – so you never leave the office and wonder where the day went. This is especially useful if your supervisor happens to ask you that same question.
  • Stop staying late.  Leaving the office on time is actually a good thing. For one thing, it forces you to be great at time management. Get your tasks done in the time you have. Staying late is not a sign of dedication; it’s a sign that you’re not efficient.
  • Accept that you won’t finish all your tasks. This one seems scary but stick with us a second. What happens when you finish your to-do list? Well, you feel accomplished for one – but the next day you just have another list of tasks that you have to do. For as long as you work, you’ll always be doing something. So if you’re unable to finish everything, don’t panic.

These suggestions might have radically changed your idea of what it means to be productive. But if you’re getting more work done even though your inbox still has some messages in it, we’ll call that a win.

Liked this? Check out 10 Productivity Systems to Try!

Written by Roselyn Sebastian

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