Speeding up communication
previously we talked a bit about how other people can play a role in our productivity specifically when it comes to decision making. In this lecture, I want to take that idea a bit further and note how communication and dependency on others can play a big role in our productivity as human beings. We are social creatures. And this means that for most of us communication will take up a majority of our time. With that. Said there are strategies to make communication more efficient without hurting feelings or transforming into a complete robot. In the beginning of the course, I talked about sending back and forth emails and waiting for responses to move forward. This is something that is covered in the getting things done productivity system by David Allen and it's something he calls an open loop. An open loop is something that basically drains resources by looping back and forth, such as sending emails back and forth. It also burns through mental energy as your brain devotes a disproporti...
onate amount of memory and mental energy towards remembering unfinished things that's actually known as the Zoo Garnick effect. Now, an example of an open loop is if an acquaintance invites you to a wedding and you reply with, let me check my calendar and get back to you when in fact you actually mean thanks, but no thanks. That open loop has created more work and mental drain for both of you as they will have to follow up and you'll have to write another email or have another conversation. Now I'm not going to tell you how to communicate with other people, that's something that only you can judge and you should always be yourself. But I do want to give you some suggestions as to habits that you can implement into your own communication style. The goal of making communication more efficient is to be polite yet firm and always direct say what you mean and mean what you say get directly to a solution rather than being indecisive. Here are some examples if you're picking a restaurant with a friend over text message and they ask you where do you want to go? You already know to avoid the I don't know where do you want to go but instead of writing back, how about either cafes Igor to Korea, you right back, let's go to cafes E. You just saved 50% of the time in the interaction but that's just the beginning. Now if instead of just picking the place you had written back let's meet at cafes E at 7 30 you just saved another round of back and forth messages. Another important aspect is to tell it like it is direct communication is one of the best ways not only to save yourself from misunderstandings but also to save a lot of time. If you have a problem with something, just tell the other person the problem as politely as you can right when you observe the issue instead of browbeating and carrying around the frustration for weeks. Think how much energy that wastes on the note of direct communication. I've often said that no is the most productive word in the english language after all, as Arianna Huffington says the best way to get something off of your to do list is to delete it. If you don't want to do something, don't leave an open loop or worse agree to do it and then have to back out of it later. Doing so adds a ton of stress and wastes not just your time but the other person's time as well. Instead opt for direct communication and just politely say no right away. It will save you both so much time. Perhaps you'll feel the need to give a reason for saying no. Such as I can. I have to go to my son's school play, but in time and with a little bit of practice you'll learn to be comfortable just politely saying no thank you and guess what people will understand. In fact, if you learn to be direct in your communications and tell people what you expect want or need without fuss, you'll be amazed at how much faster things happen and usually without offending anyone. Examples of this include saying things like if you could please respond back with the following three things instead of giving a vague set of questions or bizarre indirect language. Short, direct communications are magical when it comes to efficiency and unless you're in a culture where small talk is mandated for every interaction, most people will appreciate you saving their time as well as your own. Now, just in case if you're worried about seeming robotic or rude, you can always throw in a sorry to be so direct, but I'm sure you're very busy just to let them know that you aren't doing it out of rudeness. In my experience, the vast majority of people will actually really appreciate you being considerate of their time. So give this a try and see where you can minimize wasted effort and time using a more direct style of communication and a lot less indecisive deliberation.