Does Cortana help or hinder with being productive?

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I received an email from someone called Cortana with the subject, “Your Daily Briefing”.  Apparently, I’m a bit late to the party having only recently upgraded my Office365 so this latest attempt by Microsoft to help me work smarter came as a bit of a surprise 

My first instinct was to delete what I perceived to be spam and then figure out how to unsubscribe or turn off that feature.  Who needs another reminder of all the things you are not doing while you are in back to back tiresome meetings and zoom calls?!?!

And then I paused.  As a supposed productivity coach and expert I decided to see what it was about, and I’ve left it running for a week now.

The bad:

  • As a direct customer of Microsoft, it’s on by default. I reckon that’s a bit cheeky. (Your organisation may choose not to turn on the “feature”).
  • I’m lucky that I operate according to a relatively zero inbox, so there isn’t much on the reminder front.  If I was someone that had 6452 emails in my inbox, back-to-back meetings all day and I heavily used the tasks function, I reckon this would be a LONG email.  
  • It’s yet ANOTHER email in (for many) already busting inboxes. 
  • I did feel a bit “nagged” by the system. 

The good:

  • I’m greeted with a “Hi Donna McGeorge, it’s a new day!” which is kinda cheerful.
  • Cortana found emails that appeared to be requesting information.  I had to click whether that was completed or not and twice I had a, “oh yes!  I must do that” moment.
  • She reminded me of the appointments I had scheduled that day and it caused me to check what I needed to prepare.
  • She found pockets of time in my calendar and asked me if I would like to block any out for focus time.

This last point was the one that I thought was most useful.  Not necessarily because the time would be blocked in my diary, but because it was a daily reminder that I need focus or break times.  It’s like Cortana is prompting me to follow the 15% rule so that I stop, take stock and decided on my next actions rather than operating by default. That is very useful and productive!

It’s rare that I would encourage more email, and this little reminder in my inbox each day is so far working for me.  

Does it or would it work for you? I’d love to know why or why not.

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