Life In A Constant Stream Of Emails And Meetings
My colleague Nick wrote a post today about his productivity system. Nick’s system is way more elaborate than mine, but everyone has to find their own way of getting things done.
What I found most interesting about Nick’s post is what I put in the headline of this post. Our jobs at USV are a constant stream of emails, many of them hoping to get into the constant stream of meetings we take.
Nick put it this way in his post:
at the end of the day it all boils down to a single strategy: getting things into my calendar. The other main thing I try to solve for is simply not forgetting things. I live in a constant stream of emails and meetings, and it’s easy to forget something important. So a goal here is to help ensure that I don’t forget things and ultimately, that I’m focused on the most important thing most of the time.
Nick mentions my strategy of putting everything that I must do in a given day/week/month into my calendar so that it gets done. That works incredibly well for me and is really my only productivity tool.
Nick also mentions our partner Albert’s email technique which I have always wanted to implement and some day will:
Albert has a system, which seems to work for him, which is: using a set of predefined gmail filters, clear the inbox daily. Not the entire inbox, but a few filtered versions (family, USV team, his portfolio companies).
I very much like Albert’s approach. It requires writing the right stored queries (gmail filters) and then keeping them up to date (which is the part that gives me pause). But it makes a ton of sense to try to get to inbox zero on the most important parts of your life vs trying to get to inbox zero on everything.
No matter how you do it, you have to find a way not to drop balls, certainly the most important balls. And that is easy to do when you are in meetings from 7am to 5pm like I will be today.
So whether it is Nick’s approach, mine, Albert’s, or your own, having a system is key. I think it is less important what your system is than having one and sticking to it.