Speed Soothes Stress

. Injecting speed into tedious things makes them almost fun. Do you have more fun doing things you are good at or not? Being really good at something (mastery) is a big part of something being fun. Many people define fun as a sense of flow where you lose track of time.And you are only likely to lose track of time when you are relatively good at a task.

Email fun. Is processing email fun to you? Not as much as reading a good novel? One reason that Outlook (Microsoft Outlook 2007) is kind of fun for me is that I’ve found shortcuts that make it fast. Being able to empty an Inbox with 37 messages in 3 minutes is pretty fun.

Speed Dating. A post that really made a big difference for me was Speed dating in Outlook from GenuineCuriosity.com by Dewayne Melancon. I move many of my emails to the Tasks list (in Outlook). As part of this process I give them a date when I want them to show up on my daily to do list. Rather than using the data picker, I use the speed dating method. So I just tab to the date field and type “2 weeks”, and press tab and Outlook fills in a date two weeks from today. This thing works like I think about dates. Some things that work

  • “2 weeks before Christmas”
  • “Now” or “m” gives you today’s date
  • “Day” gives you a day from now
  • “Wed week” gives you a week from Wednesday
  • “6 mo” gives you a date 6 months from today
  • “5” gives you the 5th of the month

I’m not sure what programmer or team did this work but it is fabulous. It is so much faster AND accurate. I can’t count the number of times I have used the date picker and picked the wrong day.

Processing email is probably one of the things that takes the biggest portion of my day. Having a feeling of mastery when doing it makes it more fun for me. How about you? Have you made things more fun by finding faster ways to do them?

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