How do you process in? This was a question asked on the Home Work podcast that I recently listened to. Naturally, it caused me to think about my morning routine. Basically the idea of processing in is about the process you use to start your day—how you prioritize your work and begin moving forward.
Here is how I start my work day:
- I grab an Emergent Task Planner (ETP) and identify the major tasks I plan to complete for the day. Some smart people have emphasized that I should start with my priorities rather than immediately jump into my email and start working everyone else’s priorities. My ETPs are to do lists that are iterative and build upon the previous day’s sheets. Here is an example of last week’s ETPs. At the end of the week, I scan my ETPs into Evernote to help keep track of work completed. My to do board also helps to guide my ETP.
- Next, I sift through my email. I have a couple of email accounts, but I use the same process for each of them. Here is my email flow:
- Look for messages that I can immediately delete. If appropriate, I will unsubscribe or mark as spam.
- Respond to messages that can be closed within two minutes. This is a strategy from David Allen’s Get Things Done methodology.
- Flag messages that will require follow up. These are typically messages that will require some research or a blog post.
- Review my non-Paper.li subscriptions. Read articles that I find interesting. If they are worth saving, I will save them in Diigo, and possibly share them to one or more of my social media feeds.
- Review my Paper.li subscriptions. I will read and save to Diigo articles that I find useful.
- Once my email is behind me, I will then review my social media feeds to include Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Throughout this start up process, I will use Pomodairo to keep track of the time I spend on each task. Pomodairo also helps to keep me focused on each task.
Another piece of advice that the presenters gave on their show was to open your physical mail over a trash can. I thought this was smart, so that you do not have piles of unwanted mail laying around. This advice also works great with email. Toss what you do not really need.
If the message is really important and worth archiving for reference, send it to Evernote or another storage resource.
Well, that is my process, how do you get your day started?