One of the hallmarks of an elite knowledge worker is that they are able to keep clean edges around their work. This means that as they shift from one project or task to another, clear markers are left behind so that the work can be resumed quickly at the next opportunity. Below is a small excerpt from my recent article in Public Libraries magazine where I discuss this topic:
“An Efficient Librarian creates clean edges to her work. It all starts with an organized desk and a clearly defined physical inbox to identify new input. One habit-changing practice is to empty the inbox regularly and use it only to place new items that have yet to be processed. An Efficient Librarian pays attention to how time is spent and looks for ways to declutter surroundings and simplify systems. For me, mastering workflow and creating systems that were tight, clean, and quick was a key to my transition. I believe that the application of these principles saves me weeks of time every year to focus on creative and exciting work that takes me along new innovative paths. This unleashing of energy is needed to revitalize our profession in the face of changing times.
“For example, a small change that made a huge difference for me was turning off new email alerts, such as notification vibrations, pop-up windows, and sounds. According to a study by behavioral economist Dan Ariely, only eleven percent of email requires immediate attention.6 New message notification alerts mostly serve to distract people from their primary task just to chase down content that is most likely destined for the trash. I turned off all my new message alerts a few years ago and instantly noticed a change in my depth and length of focus.”
Read the complete article at Public Libraries magazine online.