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New Productivity Strategy: Reflection

This post is a follow up to the New Productivity Strategy post I wrote on October 31. I wanted to give this new strategy a go for a month and see if it had any impact on getting more “work” done.

To catch you up, my new framework looked something like this:

  1. My 50+ item task list will get prioritized to my “must do” top 5
  2. Those 5 items are my “only do” list for the moment
  3. New emails fall on the “never do” list, so I won’t check email until my “must do” items are done
  4. After done, I’ll check email, triage and re-prioritize the task list
  5. Take a break
  6. Repeat

Rather than simply “focus” on the things to do, I was getting sucked in to a daily routine of just following up on interruptions: email, instant message, etc. So many in fact, I could go days without getting any of my actual tasks done.

This new approach is reinforcing a few valuable lessons in prioritization:

  • We can only prioritize a few things at the same time…and really only really work on ONE thing at a time. Proper goal setting for the day is critical.
  • It’s important to specifically call out things that are consistently distractions – email and IM are #1 for me. Email is actually de-prioritized on my list and I no longer log into IM tool.
  • Some things you just can’t put on the Never Do List. While I can’t remove email completely, I can designate specific times to do it…and do it fast. Internal email doesn’t warrant the same scrutiny as something written to a client. Most of the time quantity is better than quality.
  • Delegation is important, but it has overhead on the follow through. If you are consistently delegating a task, it might be valuable to remove yourself from the middle. 
  • I’ve played with the Pomodoro Technique over the years, but it has recently come in very handy to carve out time for forced breaks OR time to catch up on email.
  • This approach takes a discipline in saying “no”. Historically, that’s been a weakness of mine. 

The biggest challenge in all of this is the feeling of dropping other tasks, letting others down or not appearing as useful as others. However, the bigger let down would be not completing the few things one must get done.

As far as the workload, I am absolutely making significant progress. As expected, it’s a bit disruptive to others that are used to the quick turn around on “interruptions”.  Setting proper expectations with them has been helpful. The bigger lesson in all of this is being aware of the need for change and continually experimenting/growing to meet  the need.

 

top 10 notebook

Microsoft Top 10 – 2017Q4

Our team is pulling together what we believe are the top 10 updates for each quarter. Hoping this is something I can share on a quarterly/regular basis for individuals and organizations wanted to stay up to date on changes. It’s an added filter of what we need our customers to see and what we see our customers already most interested in.  These posts will serve as a summary “notification”, while I keep the Modern Workplace Must Read page always current. 

 

Top 10 for 2017 Q4

Workplace Analytics – powerful new organizational analytics solution that harvests signals from Office 365 to help organizations better understand how they collaborate and spend time.

Intelligent Communications Strategy – bringing comprehensive calling and meetings capabilities into Microsoft Teams (read: Skype for Business and Teams are merging)…along with data and insights from the Microsoft Graph, and a strong roadmap of innovation to empower teams to achieve more.

Power BI Premium – new offering that brings dedicated capacity and read access for everyone in the org, without having to buy a license for ever user

On-Prem Data Classification / Protection – Azure Information Protection has the ability to encrypt content in Office 365, but what about content in fileshares and SharePoint Server on-prem. AIP Scanner can automatically crawl and inventory these documents giving you more information about the content you have before you move it online.

OneDrive Files On-Demand – as people create and collaborate more, they shouldn’t have to worry about if there is enough storage to synchronize all of their files. With Files On-Demand, you can access all your files in the cloud without having to download them. All your files—even online files—can be seen in File Explorer and work just like every other file on your device.

Connect Existing SharePoint Online Sites to Office 365 Groups / Microsoft Teams – if the title isn’t self-explanatory, you will now have the ability to connect existing SharePoint Online sites to Office 365 Groups. Sites will retain their existing URL, but will gain the ability to participate in conversations and Group navigation

Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection Safe Links for iOS & Android – organizations leveraging Office 365 ATP have the ability to now protect mobile users with click-time protection against phishing attacks.

Usage Reporting Overhaul – including Microsoft Teams – lots of updates to the usage reporting area of Office 365 and also the inclusion of Microsoft Teams. Also a peek at what’s coming. Usage Score?! Say what?!

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update – Windows 10 gets its own top 10 list with the release of the Fall Creators Update. The update includes an uplift on Windows Defender capabilities, AutoPilot for easier workstation provisioning and loads of other security and user productivity updates.

No Non-Sense Guide to Microsoft Approach to GDPR – how do you make sense of the regulation and the portfolio of tools in Office 365 and the Enterprise Mobility & Security suites.  Here’s a great basic 101 primer.

Overwhelmed

New Productivity Strategy

I recently took a new role with my company. It wasn’t a difficult transition. I have the same responsibilities…just different customers I work with. It was a change I was excited for. Being someone that values growth, how can you learn if you aren’t exposed to new things.

However, with the transition came with a number of other organizational changes as well. With everyone around me also changing roles, it was chaos.

“the way I worked in the past simply wasn’t working anymore”

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mindful sky

Habits Are The Key To Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a relatively new concept that’s getting a lot of buzz lately. Many people are seeking to be more “mindful” and are trying to pay more attention to little things in life: everything from feeling a breath in their lungs to noticing the specific color of the sky.

There is no ‘one thing’ that means being mindful; and mindfulness is not a destination to achieve. There is no right or wrong way to do it: there is only practicing it. It’s an art slowing down and increasing ones awareness of the self and world.

Why? Because studies show these small moments of mindfulness lead to happier people.

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