Diagnose an issue to improve
If you are feeling the pain of collaboration overload, but haven’t identified the issue and its cause, start with a diagnosis exercise:
Use a list of questions (qualitative diagnosis) and data from your MyAnalytics dashboard (quantitative diagnosis) to better understand your priorities for managing your collaboration load across a few key categories: focus time, email and meetings, networking, and work-life balance.
First, ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I able to schedule sufficient time to focus on getting my most important work done?
- Do I regularly produce creative and original ideas?
- Am I constantly getting interrupted by others and/or distracted by technology?
- Do I regularly achieve my important deadlines?
- Do I have adequate control over my schedule?
Email and meetings
- In general, are the meetings I attend an effective use of my time?
- Could I improve the way I organize and lead meetings?
- Are meetings preventing me from focusing on getting my most important work done?
- Am I fully present and able to add value in the meetings that I attend?
- Am I spending time with the people who are most critical to my priorities?
- Is the volume of emails I receive appropriate, given my role?
- Am I able to effectively manage my inbox?
- Could I improve the way I compose my emails?
- Do I rely too heavily on email versus other communication methods?
- Am I constantly checking email throughout the day?
- Does my job interfere with my personal life?
- Am I constantly reading and sending emails when I am home?
- Do I choose after-hours meetings over personal commitments?
- Am I able to get my most important work done during my regular business hours?
- Do I feel drained and stressed at the end of the day?
- Are the people I spend my time with aligned with my top priorities?
- Have I lost touch with people who can help me achieve my goals?
- Could I enhance my job performance by interacting more with people outside my team?
- Am I not responsive enough to important people or groups?
- Could I gain autonomy from or grant it to certain individuals by collaborating less with them?
After reflecting on those questions, does a single collaboration category stand out as your biggest pain point or are you suffering in more than one category? If more than one category, then we recommend that you prioritize and select one category to focus on to get started.
Look at your MyAnalytics dashboard to use data to validate your collaboration pain point and dig deeper to help uncover root causes. We recommend that you look at the past three weeks to help identify patterns and trends. Here are questions to ask to help you analyze the data:
- Is my total number of focus time per week as a percentage of my work week sufficient?
- Which days during the week do I typically get the most time to focus?
- Is the amount of time I spend meeting with others versus focusing on my individual work appropriate for my job?
- Is my total number of email hours per week as a percentage of my work week very high?
- Am I spending more time writing emails than reading emails?
- Am I emailing throughout the day or at specific times during the day?
- Am I reading and sending a lot of emails outside business hours?
- Is my total number of meetings hours per week as a percentage of my work week very high?
- How much time as a percentage of my week should I spend in meetings for my job?
- Are most of the meetings that I attend scheduled by me or by others?
- Is my total after-hours number acceptable?
- Am I collaborating after hours on certain days or every day?
- Am I spending the majority of my after hours in meetings or on email?
- Do my time investments in people line up with my top priorities?
- Are there opportunities for me to meet more with or less with certain individuals?
- Is anyone missing from my map with whom I should be spending time?
- Am I acting as a bottleneck for certain people because I am too slow to respond to their emails?
After you analyze your collaboration issue both qualitatively and quantitatively, you should have more clarity on what you would like to change about the way you collaborate. Behavior-change objectives include:
- Reduce the number of hours I spend in ineffective meetings.
- Schedule more focus hours to boost my productivity, creativity and decision-making.
- Manage my inbox more effectively.
- Improve the effectiveness of the emails that I send.
- Reduce my after-hours collaboration to achieve a better work-life balance.
- Spend more time with the people in my network who are aligned with my top priorities.
After you have your objective, it's time to convert it into a measurable goal using a MyAnalytics metric. See Set your goal.