By: Kathryn Can I have a show of hands from people struggling with information overload? Unwieldy email inboxes? Unmanageable to-do lists? We all know that frustrating feeling of not knowing which project to work on next and struggling to keep everything straight without letting any of the juggling balls drop. In recently reading “The Power of Less” by Leo Babauta and “Bit Literacy” by Mark Hurst, I was struck by how both authors provided methods to reduce your clutter, streamline your life and increase productivity. One similarity between the two books is the strategy for reducing your email inbox to zero messages. Although that seems to be an impossible and scary task, both authors point out that inboxes are not designed to be to-do lists. Rather, we should read an email, respond to it and then file it. I haven't yet achieved the desired zero, but I have gotten the number of my emails down to fewer than 20 (for one day!).
Additionally, both writers focus on prioritization of to-do items. By choosing the essential tasks for each day, we empower ourselves to meet these goals and finish larger projects. Rather than focusing on minor, in-the-weeds details, we should focus on those items that will have a longer and stronger impact on our careers. Now, that's not to say that the details and little to-dos can slip off and be forgotten. These, too, must be completed, but they should not be the focus of your daily work life. Schedule a few small windows of time to complete them and remain on track. We are all overwhelmed with the amount of information we need to process everyday, and each author provides his take on how to simplify and manage it all. “The Power of Less”looks at focusing on the essentials only and eliminating the clutter, while “Bit Literacy” examines how best to organize all the digital information in your life to keep from being overwhelmed. Both authors make valid points, helping the reader to gain control in an effort to increase her work (and personal) productivity. What productivity tips work for you?
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