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The Results Curve: How to Manage Focused and Collaborative Time

Less-Is-More Blog by Pierre Khawand

MG Siegler from TechCrunch quits e-mail for a month! I will show you how you can quit e-mail too (part 2)

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Sat, Jul 23, 2011 @ 05:34 AM

Last week I described to you how MG Siegler from TechCrunch quit e-mail and I demonstrated how you can do that too and take control of your life again. I examined how results change with time, and how interruptions--like e-mail interruptions, can significantly reduce our productivity. Then I showed you how working in bursts of focused and collaborative sessions to create e-mail free zones (green bar below) and e-mail dedicated zones (red bar) is the answer:

results curve email management

Today, I would like to take this "quit e-mail" concept a step further.

To do so, I would like to bring to the picture the 80/20 rule! This rule states that 80% of our results come from 20% of our effort. In other words, there are some activities that we do that are closely connected to the desired results (the 20%) while many other things that we do that are marginally connected to the desired results if at all (the 80%):

managing e-mail

The rule has many implications and applications, but for now, I would like to apply it to e-mail and propose that only 20%  of our e-mails are closely connected to the desired results while 80% are not.

So instead of quitting e-mail all together, how about we quit the 80% and focus on the 20%. I am not just referring to incoming e-mails, but I am also suggesting you start sending about 20% of the e-mails you send today. As a result:

  1. People start to send you less e-mails and their e-mails are likely to be focused on the important issues.

  2. People start to reach you using more appropriate tools instead of always e-mailing you.

  3. You spend a lot less time on e-mail and more time on important endeavors.

Additional Resources


Topics: interruptions, email management