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Stephanie Morillo
Stephanie Morillo

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Have you made recent changes to your workflow to boost productivity?

Hi all,

I'm curious: have you made recent changes to your workflow to boost productivity? And if so, what are they?

Lately I've been using Zapier a LOT more heavily to help me manage my daily life (my attention is split between home improvement projects, my side business, and my day job).

Kurt Kemple wrote an excellent article about using Zapier to automate parts of your workflow.

What have you changed and why?

Discussion (22)

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_garybell profile image
Gary Bell

Not really a workflow thing, but I have started warning people that I only check my email 3 times a day. First thing on a morning, just after lunch, and about an hour before the end of the day.

I find I've then set expectations on when people can expect a response from me, and I'm not constantly checking to see if anyone is screaming via email for my attention. Those I actually work with know they can call me or use Hangouts to send get me if they need a faster response.

Sometimes I will read emails when I am between tasks, but for the most part, not being at the endless demand of an email chain means I can focus properly on the actual task at hand.

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Sundeep

I started doing something similar last week. I'm switching off internet completely for about 5-6 hours during workdays. I take breaks more often now instead of continuously checking social media and the likes. Somedays I can't switch off, as the work itself needs internet connection. I hope I can settle into this habit on more days than not.

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Stephanie Morillo Author

Really interesting, Sundeep — are those 5-6 hours outside of working hours? Or are you adjusting your work schedule to be more heads down, not as much social media/email/chat?

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learnbyexample profile image
Sundeep

The latter. I'm self employed and my schedule varies wildly, except during last stages of a project. I'm hoping to reduce internet distraction during what I consider to be my main working hours.

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Stephanie Morillo Author

That makes a lot of sense, thank you! If you haven't read it already, I think you'd like the book Deep Work by Cal Newport. Your approach to minimizing distractions reminds me a lot of what he discusses in the book (it's an excellent read). :)

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Jenna Pederson

I have done this for years and highly recommend it! The setting of expectations is important.

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Gary Bell

I think people have come to expect that email is delivered instantly, and therefore should be read instantly. If it's read instantly there should be a reply very soon after. Yet I still hear of people calling someone and say "I'm following up on the email I just sent you", as if people are sat waiting for emails to keep them occupied.

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Oisín • Edited on

Ah yes, I've worked with a few people who would come to my desk and start the following conversation:

A: Did you get that email I sent?
B: No, when did you send it?
A: Just now.
B: Oh.
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_garybell profile image
Gary Bell

I've literally had the conversation with someone now. They have been informed it will be read tomorrow (as it has a large document with it).

Even when you have long established expectations, people still expect more.

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Stephanie Morillo Author

It's great that you set proper expectations. I find that people generally find it helpful to know how you work and appreciate it when we communicate that. Have you found it has improved your productivity?

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Gary Bell

I have. I find that I'm not checking my emails every 10 minutes because I have set email checking windows that people know about. Tgat means I can give whatever task I'm working on my full attention.

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Jan Schröder

I recently switched to taskwarrior, CLI task manager and I think I finally found the right tool for me.

Now I have a dedicated personal bullet journal, which is pen and paper and a digital way for work.

This way of separation of private and work finally makes sense to me and freed up mental resources.

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Stephanie Morillo Author

This is great, Jan! How do you like the bullet journal format?

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Jan Schröder

I find that is flexible enough to take all the abuse of inconsistencies that I throw at it. Plus it is absolutely forgiving when I don’t write some days. Just continue.

One thing that annoys me about paper calendars is the waste when not writing something for a couple of weeks. In the bullet Journal I just continue on the next page.

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Jose E Saura

Hey! What do you mean by "digital way for work" I use a bullet journal too, but I think I should get more out of it.

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Jan Schröder

Sorry for the confusion.

I mean that I ditched pen and paper task management for work and went purely digital.

The analog journal I keep is purely private/family related.

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Ryan Latta

Ok, I made a few big changes in my workflows in the past year.

  1. Writing - I'll skip describing this for now.
  2. Email - Seriously, this approach from Andreas Klinger worked awesome for me.
  3. Juggling All my professional hustles.

Little more on three. I juggle my day job, consulting business, and career coaching, and I want a way to keep up with all my stuff. So I use a combination of Trello and Email to do it. I set up label colors to see what aspect of my life it is, I use a calendar plugin to see them on my calendar, and I'll forward things from email straight into Trello like contacting a lead or following up with a mentee. My board has a column for big goals, then I follow a PDCA cycle.

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Stephanie Morillo Author

I'll have to check out the article, thank you!

I hear you re: juggling multiple hustles. It's cool to see that you use Trello as a CRM tool — has it met your needs so far for that?

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Ryan Latta

At this point, kind of.

The main thing I'm focusing on with that is making sure I have discipline and keep contacts alive.

So for example, I'll create an item to find contacts in LinkedIn and email them. When I'm done I'll create tasks to contact them again after some period.

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CoolScratcher

As I'm a kid, I have limited time to code. I've been using extensions like live server and prettier to make my coding easier. I've used Zapier in the past to automate my business, but other than that, I really haven't changed my workflow. It's just code, code, code, show it to people, and repeat.

DevKidsAreAwesome

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Dan • Edited on

A recent change in my workflow was to use direct language in task management and enforce assignments. Instead of „We should“, „Our team needs to“ I ask for volunteers and/or assign tasks to individuals. This avoids a bystander effect and helps me and my teammates to focus on the given tasks.

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Stephanie Morillo Author

YES! When it comes to executing work we need to be direct. It sounds like this approach has been going well for you so far, congrats!