Morning Joe | February 22, 2013
>> that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare.
>>> but that's dinner.
>> we find out that ann hits a deer with her car. and mika asks, is the deer okay?
>> your mom used to bring home road kill .
>> that's what i'm saying. did you bring the deer home? that's a waste. that's a waste.
>> so mika 's mom actually ran into a deer.
>> well, no, she didn't hit it, but she saw it get hit and knew it was fresh.
>> right. and split it with the farmer.
>> and brought it home.
>> brought it home.
>> no, she actually saved it for dinner. pamela harriman over.
>> you don't waste good meat.
>> road kill .
>> obviously ann hasn't learned that yet.
>> with us now --
>> just left it there?
>> look who we have. she should have been a lot more productive, mika .
>> i know. really, you've got -- time is money . time is money . joining us now, senior lecturer at harvard business school , senior fellow at the brookings institution and former chairman of mfs investment management of fidelity investments , robert posen. he's back with more advice for us from his book, "extreme productivity." "boost your results, reduce your hours, lessons on high performance from an executive."
>> mika said it sounds like one of those diets. work less, be more productive. for you, it's all about ordering, prioritizing.
>> yes. i think everyone has to figure out what your high-priority stuff is. just write it down. write down the three or four things you want to get done this week. the three or four things you want to get done this year. and then you've got to figure out how to get all the small stuff out of the way. and one of my best suggestions is something called ohio. only handle it once. we all are overwhelmed by e-mail. we get hundreds of e-mails. and so the key is, when you see that e-mail, discard 80% to 85% of them right away.
>> really? right now while we're talking?
>> that's right. exactly because you can tell that this is just something you get every day. some solicitation. something that's really worthless. but the other 15%, answer it right away. right then and there.
>> does e-mail make us more productive? because the thing that i always loved about e-mail ten years ago is, you know, you respond to somebody quickly. you're like okay, you know what? i can respond to them in five seconds instead of sitting on the phone for five minutes.
>> that's true.
>> but then a response feeds a response feeds a response.
>> with three people copied on it.
>> feeds a response. i just wonder --
>> it's like most technology. it's got potential for great increases in productivity, but if misused, it's going to reduce your productivity. one of the things i urge is never hit the reply to all button. really think about whether you need to reply to someone else. we all get caught on these reply to all.
>> i need to get that straight.
>> she makes that mistake especially when i blind copy.
>> and then i reply all.
>> another thing is don't send an e-mail that just says "thank you." because that's -- show your thanks by not sending the e-mail saying thank you.
>> but e-mails come in, like, 100 times an hour.
>> that's why you've got to really be tough with yourself and discard most of them. you can tell just from the subject matter , it's a hit cal solicitation, something you get every day. but the key thing is, the things that are important, you need to answer right away, not put them into your holding pattern because before you know it, you'll have 200 or 300.
>> you talk about the problem with perfectionism.
>> perfectists want to be perfect on all tasks. and sometimes there are tasks that are less important. you sort of spin your wheels.
>> you say, you know what? don't try to get an "a." get a "b" plus.
>> that's right. lots of us have to file status reports or things that come every week or every month. the people who are reading it, your audience doesn't want a ten-page exegis on this subject. if you spend time to do the ten-pager, you've just wasted your time. the key is to figure out what does your audience want? do they want a-plus work or "b" work? and in things like status work, all they want is "b" plus work. if you're spending more time, you're wasting it.
>> i think men are better at this. i think women need to learn to be less perfectionists, spend less time being perfect and just get it done. that's what guys do. they hand in "c" work and then talk about it.
>> or just throw away assignments.
>> al, you've got a crazy schedule. you work around the clock, seven days a week. how do you prioritize?
>> i mean, i think he's right. i write out -- i don't do it weekly. i do it daily. the three or four things that i need to get done, and i try to remain focused on that. so between the television show , the radio show and national action network , i would go crazy if i tried to do all the minute little things . you have to set priorities and you have to be disciplined enough to stay focused on. and you check off. did i get this done? did i get this done? because you'll find yourself, if you don't do that, having achieved a whole lot of nothing, and not achieving the main things you need to get done.
>> and i like your approach of every night, reconsider, which things did you do, and which things didn't you do? and then you move it forward.
>> i think for somebody wanting to be productive, i think the key here is you said something at the very beginning. i almost interrupted you to underline it. but al just did it for me. write it down.
>> write it down. i'm not an organized guy naturally. and the only -- i started succeeding when i started writing my goals down. and like you, i was me naniacal. i knew if i didn't have a piece of paper -- in fact, when i was in congress, the only thing that worked for me -- again, because i'm so disorganized in nature, i said, what's my one goal for the year? and then i backed it up. what's my goal for each quarter? then i backed it up, what's my goal for the first three months inside that quarter? and that's the only way -- there was one organizing principle, and it fed into everything. but that would have never happened if i hadn't written it down.
>> you're right. and here's another exercise that i suggest in "extreme productivity." write down your goals and then take your average week and see what you spend your time on, how much time you spend on meals, sleep, how much time you spend commuting. how much time you -- how many hours a week are you spending for your four top goals?
>> this is very important for mike barnicle because you've got fantasy baseball , right? sitting in the car in the back seat sleeping.
>> central park .
>> central park bench.
>> walking through central park and finding a bench.
>> might be overdoing that.
>> do you have a pie chart that breaks it down?
>> i write down all these goals daily. i write down what time i'm going to the park, what costume i'm going to work, whether camouflage will work. what games will be on that particular night and what trades i want to make in fantasy baseball . i write that down every single day. every single morning.
>> here's --
>> a better life than us, i'll tell you what.
>> here's the interesting thing. i've done this for a lot of audiences. i've never found one where they use more than half their time on their top-priority goals. almost all of them have less than half their time on their priority goals.
>> and people really struggle with that. they don't realize how hard you have to work to stay on those top goals.
>> it's work.
>> it is work.
>> it's a constant challenge. all right. thank you so much. it's always great to have you here.
>> thank you very much.
>> "extreme productivity: boost your results, reduce your hours." bob pozen, thank you so much.
>>> coming up, historian douglas brinkley will be here. we'll be