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My method to keep my inbox empty

Everyday, I receive around 50-100 emails in my inbox. 

Since years, I’m looking for a good method to stay organized, and not be overloaded by all these incoming informations.
I think that I’ve found THE method that work (at least for me).
This method is a concrete implementation of Getting things done, the method from David Allen.
Here are the few 3 steps to implement it.
1 – Configure your email system
Currently I’m using Microsoft outlook, but the setup can be done with every email system.
I use 5 folders :
0 – Inbox : where all email comes when I receive them
1 – Action : email for which an action from me is needed
1 – Read / Review : emails that with stuff I need to read / review
2 – Waiting for : emails for which I’m waiting an action from someone else
3 – Done : emails processed, keeped for archive.
An extra folder “Gmail view” is there to in outlook the nice looking “conversation view” of gmail. You don’t need it if you ‘re already in gmail.
The numbers shown after the folder name are the number of items in the folder (not the unread items, I do not care anymore about read/ unread, you’ll se why after).
2 – Process your Inbox
Everything start from inbox. When emails are received, they go there.
I process my inbox at least 2 times per day : on time in the morning, before lunch and another before leaving.
I avoid to read email as they come. I’ve noticed that if I read emails as they come, I loose what I’m currently doing, and jump from a topic to another, loosing efficiency.
The inbox folder is sorted by “from” field.
The processing steps are the following :
a) open email and read it
b) if I can answer to the email immediately (less than 2 minutes according to GTD standards), I do it, and I move the email to “done” folder
c) if I need to answer to the email, but cannot do it immediately, because the task needs more time to be achieved, I ask myself if someone in my team can do it for me
 – if yes, I forward the email to him/her, I move the original email in “done” folder, I move the email sent in the “waiting-for” folder
– if no, I’ll have to do it myself, I move the email to the “Action” folder.
d) if I do not need to answer to the email, but I need to read it more carefully (presentations, communications, …), I move it to “read/review folder”
e) finally, if the email do not trigger any action, I move it to “done” folder.
3 – Process “action”, “read/review” and “waiting-for” folders.
Once a week I do a full, complete review of these folders during my GTD weekly review (very Friday 12:30 to 2pm)
I review the “waiting-for” folder during the one-to-one meetings I’ve have with my team members.
I process action and read/review when I’ve time (using GTD principles).
If I see that action and read/review folder are getting too full, I plan in my agenda for specific session to review them.
3 – Conclusion : Why I feel so good with this system ?

a) the emails are sorted accorded to what I need to do with them.
Previously, I tried to do it using “read/unread” and “flags”, but it wasn’t efficient.

b) all the emails I’ve processed are not anymore under my view. 
They are in “done” folder that I seldom open. I’m not disturbed by them.

c) The kpis to know if I’m under control or not are built-in.
I just look at the number of items in each folders.

d) coming at work in the morning with an email with few emails (just the one from the night, as I work with a 24×7 organisation) is very healthy.

I let you try it, and let me know what you think about it.
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Google, GTD, web2.0, Innovation, … 6 very good books I’ve read in 2009

 
Planet Google: One Company’s Audacious Plan to Organize Everything We Know by Randall Stross
 Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin
 
The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google by Nicholas Carr
Product DetailsThe Ten Faces of Innovation: IDEO’s Strategies for Defeating the Devil’s Advocate and Driving Creativity Throughout Your Organization by Thomas Kelley and Jonathan Littman


  

The known universe : a fantastic video from American Museum of Natural History

This video shows the known universe. It start from Tibet and then goes to the farest known area of universe. All the elements (stars, planets, …) are represented to scale.

Just take 6 minutes to do this incredible journey.
It's absolutely fantastic.

Posted via email from lmau’s posterous



  

If you’re developping software, you must read this : Ariane 5 flight 501 bug report

KOUROU, FRENCH GUYANA - MAY 13: In this hando...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

On June 4th, 1996, the first Ariane 5,the European Rocket was destroyed by its automated self-destruct system 37 seconds after launch

 
The root cause of this destruction was a software bug on the navigation system that had been re used from Ariane 4 and not tested enough…
 
The bug report is available online, his reading is very instructive.
 
You can find it here.
 
You can also read the good article in wikipedia.


  

How to succeed in a project : a good start is mandatory

This is true for everything in life : if the start is not good… you’ll have to fight to come back in good shape, and maybe it will not be possible.

[image_right_caption caption=”00 metros 3 by gatogrunge, on Flickr” href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/25533361@N00/280882501/” src=”http://farm1.staticflickr.com/100/280882501_9f8a64047a_m.jpg”]

For a project, this is especially true.
The cause of many project failures can be traced back to the early days of the project.
Before the start of the project, it’s easy to think. After, when the project is launched, it’s a lot more difficult, because you will have to run the project.
To be efficient when you run the project, and be able to think, see the issues, the project has to be clear.
When the project starts, everything is possible :

[list_circle] [li]what will be the deadline ?[/li] [li]what will be the deliverables ?[/li] [li]what will be the methodology used ?[/li] [li]who will be in the team ?[/li][/list_circle]

Of course, some of them have constraints, but, before the project starts, you can change them, or at least try to change them. If you cannot change them… you still can organize the project to meet them.

For example, if  the deadline is very aggressive, what I always do is :

[list_circle] [li]Understand why. What will be the impact to release later ?[/li] [li]Propose pre deliverables or other solutions to answer the need as soon as possible, and take time to build the full solution. Sometimes, it’s even possible to prose a pre version that will meet 80% of the requirements, before the need date…[/li] [li]Put in place the good organisation to achieve it (need more people ?, more money ? …)[/li] [/list_circle]

If you don’t take the time to review it, and start the project with an impossible deadline, you’ll fail, waste money, and energy…

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According to Google, Google docs is not (yet) a good alternative to Microsoft office !

Image representing Dave Girouard as depicted i...

Image by Google via CrunchBase

The battle between google and microsoft is in progress, with a big battle Microsoft office / Google documents.

Every day news come about new companies switching from Microsoft office to google doc.

Last week, Dave Girouard gave an interview to ZDnet Asia.
Dave Girouard is an important guy in google (he’s  one of the company’s four presidents including founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin), so his words are important.

And what he said in this interview was a big surprise for me.
To make it short, he explained that google documents is not the good solution for enterprise yet, it will be in 1 year !

His exact words are : 

We wouldn’t ask people to get rid of Microsoft Office and use Google Docs because it is not mature yet

he expects Google’s online document application, Google Docs, to reach a “point of capability” next year that will serve the “vast majority’s needs”.

Of course, using both Google documents (for personal use) and Microsoft office tools (for business), I know the differences that exist between them, and that google is still behind, but I did not expect a google guy to admit it. 

Now the question is : is 1 year the good timing to expect Google documents to catch Microsoft office in term of capabilities … or will it take more than that ?

Zemanta helped me add links & pictures to this email. It can do it for you too.

Posted via email from lmau’s posterous


  

According to Google, Google docs is not (yet) a good alternative to Microsoft office !

Image representing Dave Girouard as depicted i...

Image by Google via CrunchBase

The battle between google and microsoft is in progress, with a big battle Microsoft office / Google documents.

Every day news come about new companies switching from Microsoft office to google doc.

Last week, Dave Girouard gave an interview to ZDnet Asia.
Dave Girouard is an important guy in google (he’s  one of the company’s four presidents including founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin), so his words are important.

And what he said in this interview was a big surprise for me.
To make it short, he explained that google documents is not the good solution for enterprise yet, it will be in 1 year !

His exact words are : 

We wouldn’t ask people to get rid of Microsoft Office and use Google Docs because it is not mature yet

he expects Google’s online document application, Google Docs, to reach a “point of capability” next year that will serve the “vast majority’s needs”.

Of course, using both Google documents (for personal use) and Microsoft office tools (for business), I know the differences that exist between them, and that google is still behind, but I did not expect a google guy to admit it. 

Now the question is : is 1 year the good timing to expect Google documents to catch Microsoft office in term of capabilities … or will it take more than that ?

Zemanta helped me add links & pictures to this email. It can do it for you too.

Posted via email from lmau’s posterous