Benjamin Franklin’s Timeboxing Calendar, Email productivity tips, Positive work culture characteristics & 4 questions that every leadership team should ask
10th October 2021 Evolution Partners Newsletter
“Love your Enemies, for they tell you your Faults.” – Benjamin Franklin
Hope you’re Thriving!
It’s been a great week, and after a couple of days off, I’m re-energised and back to work!
I love the humble context of the Benjamin Franklin quote above, reminding us that we are all fallible, yet our enemies help us focus on those fallible areas. Of course, we can translate this to our competition where the objective within strategy should be to make our competition redundant; think about red ocean versus blue ocean in the blue ocean strategy book. We are trying to operate in a market that isn’t highly competitive with others. But it’s easier said than done, and our competitors will always consider us to be competitors, and we can adapt the Ben Franklin quote to say, “love your competitors, for they tell you your faults”.
Benjamin Franklin’s Timeboxing Calendar
This week I came across the image below showing Ben Franklin’s daily schedule. I’ve recently been speaking about the benefits of timeboxing and how it was voted the most productive of 100 productivity hacks, and this calendar from Franklin is a simple version of timeboxing.
He had only six blocks of time scheduled each day:
· Getting ready for the day: shower, breakfast, personal study, and prepare for work (3 hours)
· Morning work (4 hours)
· Review of current projects and to eat lunch (2 hours)
· Afternoon work (4 hours)
· Dinner and rest and wrapping up the day (4 hours)
· Sleep (7 hours)
So simple, yet still structured and helpful.
As you can see on the left-hand side, the other thing is that he is asking himself two questions every day. Firstly what good shall I do today? Secondly, what good have I done today?
16 email productivity tips
Of course, in the 1700s, Franklin didn’t need to deal with email and its damage to deep work and productivity. So here are 16 concepts to help you manage your email, write better emails and maintain your productivity.
- Inbox zero doesn’t make you more productive — unless your job is to achieve inbox zero.
- If you reply to emails immediately, you train people to expect you to respond immediately.
- The more your email sounds like you speak, the more effective it will be.
- The worst time to “do email” is every time you get an email.
- The best way to get your question answered is to end your email with the question.
- There’s nothing “free” about staying subscribed to a free newsletter you don’t read.
- The simplest way to get fewer emails is to send fewer emails.
- Using filters to send incoming emails directly to different folders is more effective than labelling emails after they hit your inbox.
- Your inbox works for you — not the other way around.
- If a message were genuinely urgent, it wouldn’t have been sent to you in an email.
- When you buy a product and give a store your email address, you’re paying them to interrupt you over and over again.
- CC’ing someone who doesn’t need to be cc’d isn’t respectful— it’s disrespectful.
- An email without a goal is an email without a purpose, and an email without a purpose is an email that shouldn’t exist.
- If you have to write a long email, make it skimmable —bullet points are your best friend.
- Every email should tell the recipient what you want them to do after they read it.
- If you’re not working on email now, your inbox shouldn’t be open now.
The 6 Positive work culture characteristics
We all know how tough it can be to maintain productivity when you have an overflowing email inbox. But once you’ve managed that, there are other ways to generate productivity in your workforce. For example, this week, I came across an article that connects productivity with having a positive work culture and how to build a positive work culture.
Creating a positive and healthy culture for your team rests on a few major principles. Within the article, the qualities of a culture boil down to six essential characteristics:
- Caring for, being interested in, and maintaining responsibility for colleagues as friends.
- Providing support for one another, including offering kindness and compassion when others are struggling.
- Avoiding blame and forgive mistakes.
- Inspiring one another at work.
- Emphasising the meaningfulness of the work.
- Treating one another with respect, gratitude, trust, and integrity.
Read the article here Proof that positive work cultures are more productive
This week on The Growth Whisperers podcast
Some of the best data for leadership team members comes from customers, and some of the best customer data becomes available when leaders talk with customers directly. In fact, leaders could be missing out on 70% to 80% of the most valuable information that they could have.
This week we discuss the simple system of 4 questions that every leadership team should ask, we discuss why it’s important, and how to implement it in your business.
4Q The 4 questions leadership team members need to ask customers
Listen to The Growth Whisperers
If you would like to receive our weekly newsletter as an email, simply complete the “subscribe to my newsletter” form at the top of this page.