A plug for productivity

I’m balancing filling in for Jon Gordon on Future Tense with the crushing burden and awesome responsibility of News Cut this week.

For tomorrow’s (Wednesday) show, I interviewed a professor at Minnesota State University Moorhead, who has developed a system that my makes my cubicle neighbors weep, but appears to put a glint in the eyes of the bosses.

ashish_gupta.jpgWhile you’re reading this entry, the chances are pretty good that you’ll get some e-mail. You’ll stop what you’re doing and read it, and it probably won’t be all that important. That’s the problem. Every time you get some e-mail, you drop what you’re doing to read it.

Ashish Gupta, an operations management professor at Minnesota State University Moorhead, along with his colleague Ramesh Sharda at Oklahoma State University, has developed a computer model — called SIMONE — that allows your organization to release e-mail to you in batches, and you wouldn’t miss the important ones — the ones that are important for you to do your job.

It can be configured to allow messages from your boss to zip through. Through the use of keywords, other important e-mail can get through. But the e-mail that isn’t critical to your job, wastes up to 30 minutes of your time each day, compared to a structured four-times-a-day release of e-mail to you, according to Gupta.

Some of this you can already test. Just set your e-mail client to check for new mail every two or three hours instead of shooting it to you instantly. But would you want that? Do you hang on every e-mail? Does it interrupt your day and if it does, how much of it has anything to do with your work?

Here’s an extended interview with Professor Gupta.