Productivity Hacks: Making My Tasks Emotional

This is an influencer post by Kathryn Minshew, Founder & CEO of The Muse

Everything I know about productivity I learned from my cofounder, Alex Cavoulacos. We have a running joke on the Muse team that she is the most efficient person on earth and, as my co-founder, the yang to my yin powering what some people call “the Muse secret sauce.” We’ve been called an unstoppable team and, while somewhat hyperbolic, I can’t imagine us not still working together in fifteen years.

prod_hackMuch of her help has come in the form of tools, and she’s introduced me to just about every one I use. From Boomerang (to bounce emails out of your inbox and return them at a later time that you specify) to Pocket, which I use aggressively to save articles and read them later, my daily routines would look very different without her uber efficient influence.

Perhaps her most valuable contribution to my overall output as a person has also been one of the simplest. For years, I struggled with prioritizing and then plowing through the chaos that is any entrepreneur’s inbox. And then, about a year ago, Alex showed me a trick that will probably add years to my life: grouping tasks by the emotional input needed to complete them.

What the heck does that mean, you ask? Imagine you’re in line for coffee, or at the bank, and have a spare 120 seconds. When I find myself in these situations multiple times a day, pull out my phone, search my inbox for emails tagged with “Quick answer”, and knock off 2-3 right away. If I’m feeling energized, motivated and ready to wrestle with something meaty, I have a “Deep Thought” tag that usually involves minimum 30-minute blocks of time. And when I’m in transit, I have a “Calls to Make” tag for people who’ve asked for startup advice that I haven’t yet been able to make time for.

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By grouping tasks with tags outlining the emotional input needed, your inbox can once again feel like a friend. So thank you, Alex Cavoulacos, for helping me to rekindle a relationship I once thought was lost. I am a more productive person because of it, and I hope you can benefit from her wonderful mania.

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