Every day I discover something new, whether it be on the internet, in the newspaper, or by speaking with clients and prospects. Following technology advancements is one of my favorite activities and it has led to a myriad of tools that I have implemented to make my life more productive, or so I thought.
E-mail, to this day, has been a great way to keep in touch, but there’s one downfall that I overlooked for a long time until someone recently turned me onto the idea of eliminating e-mail notification. At the beginning of the summer, I made a few changes to Microsoft Outlook’s behavior in hopes of changing my own behavior. I found myself impulsively checking my e-mail every time my computer chimed in. I also found myself very distracted by it. So, I turned it off. Now, I don’t know when I have e-mail, and it’s liberating! Much like disciplined business associates who set aside specific times during their business day to check their messages and return phone calls, I have developed a better habit by doing the same with e-mail. No longer do I jump to my e-mail to read through each overwhelming topic in the middle of important tasks. Rather, I return them in small clumps of time throughout the day.
Another change that I made to Outlook was setting it to open in a way that would lend to more productivity. Why not have Outlook open directly to the calendar page instead of the e-mail page? Great idea! So now, when Outlook opens, it sits in the background and churns along on the calendar page where I can quickly gain access to my schedule without being distracted by the latest goofy joke or video. I can save that for later.
Okay, so here’s another trick that I just realized will help me gain perspective on my finances. I use Quicken frequently. It’s the only way I know where I stand financially. Perhaps I have a bit of a control issue when it comes to knowing where I spend my money, but I know that at any time I can run a quick report to determine where I have been spending my money and where I can change bad habits. Whether or not I change them is the key :). If you’re a Quicken user, you are familiar with the annoying Cha-Ching that you hear when a transaction is recorded. Well, I made a change to that. I altered the sound from a misleading Cha-Ching (a sound that gives me a false sense of security because “Cha-Ching” is commonly used to describe income) to a more apropos sound. Since I have more transactions that deplete my account than increase it, I figured a good sound would be the sound of someone swiping something out of my hand.
Voila! Now when I record a transaction I actually feel the money leaving. Who would have thought that a simple change like that would make a difference in spending habits. We’ll see what happens :).
Have you discovered any changes that you have made in using your computer that lend to greater productivity?