Turn on the filters, turn down the noise

Are you overwhelmed with 'stuff'? Andy Tattersall shares his Top Ten 'filters for the workplace' tips and tools.

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Filter #7 Walk

Another big problem for the modern workplace is meetings, especially for people who have to attend a lot of them. Some organisations have tried to check the spiralling amount of time workers spend in them by having only 10 people attend, having just two agenda items, or making everyone stand up for the duration of the meeting. These may work for some and may seem desperate measures for others. Another alternative is to take the office out of the equation altogether and have a walking meeting. A walking meeting is as it says it is, you conduct your meeting whilst walking, usually outside of the building with your colleagues. Think about it, if you have trouble finding a room for a meeting it solves that, it is carbon neutral, and helps you lose weight and gets up on your feet. Most importantly for this article it filters out the workplace, it removes potential distraction from email and Web (if you leave your phone at work). Not every meeting requires a computer or a table, many meetings are between just two or three people and are often to solve or scope out an idea or problem. It might seem strange to have a meeting on foot whilst walking but throughout history many major decisions will have been taken whilst outdoors, from the gardens of Downing Street to Camp David, not everything is resolved at a table in a cramped little room.

Filter #8 Quiet

For many people, especially those working in academia the intrusion of information and content goes beyond the papers, emails and hyperlinks but also the noise of the workplace. Not everyone is lucky to have their own office or be able to work from home, yet for most university campuses there is usually easy access to a quiet library space. The greatest barrier for this filter is that university libraries are seen as the domain of students yet they are spaces open for all. Again, leaving their phone and laptop behind and armed with just a collection of papers and books a researcher can spend a few hours channelling their focus on the papers they have to read in the quieter spaces of the library. It also reconnects the academic back with the wider university and students, which is no bad thing.

Filter #9 Unroll

Back to the perennial problem of email overload, a tool such as https://unroll.me/ is great at listing all of your email subscriptions so you can see who you are getting emails from. One of the bad habits people have in their email practice is routinely deleting emails from sites they no longer care for rather than go through the process of unsubscribing from the service, therefore still getting more emails you don’t want to read. Unroll.me trawls through your subscriptions and lists them in one place so you can en-masse unsubscribe from them. I’m not convinced it found all of my email subscriptions but it did find several hundred, of which I chose a hundred or so to unlist myself from. The process takes minutes and will save you time in the future. More importantly it will filter out some of that content dropping into inbox, wanting your attention.

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