The “Work Less, More Success” Guide to Time Management – Step Four

Continuing with our series on the Productivity Workflow Formula™ (PWF)

Process New Information

Step 4: Process New Information: REDUCE PROCESSING TIME Streamline your information flow, and you’ll inevitably cut back on your time expenditures. Make setting up an efficient filing system one of your first tasks. Develop a simple, noun-based labeling scheme, and apply it rigorously to your electronic and paper files. No document should ever take you more than a minute or so to find.

You’ll also need a reliable personal time management system—some variety of organizer, whether paper, electronic, or hybrid, where you can keep track of all your schedules and contacts. Just make sure it meets the HUG criteria: it must be Handy, Usable, and Garbage-free.

Involuntary data inflow, especially email and phone calls, will likely represent a bigger problem. You can cut back on their influence by limiting your exposure to just a few times per day and processing your inboxes down to zero each time you do check, triaging on the fly. Because most work arrives via email, you should follow some foundational principles to reduce processing time:

  • The Superglue Rule
  • The Decisiveness Rule
  • The Start-to-Finish Rule
  • The Three-Minute Rule
  • The Empty Inbox Rule
  • The Discipline Rule

When you use these rules in conjunction with my original 6-D Information Processing System™, you can reduce the time you spend handling your inflowing information to a much more manageable level.

Step 5: Coming Soon!

You can get the full details on all six steps in What To Do When There’s Too Much To Do, my brand new handbook for maximizing workplace productivity without running yourself into the ground. Buy your copy at AmazonBarnes and Noble, or 800CEORead and email your receipt to [email protected] for special bonuses by author friends of Laura Stack. Visit for complete details.