Fortune online are running an interesting series in which a handful of CEO's from major (American) companies are asked about how they work. The two interviews that I found interesting where with Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Marissa Mayer (Google).
Both use more than one screen to work. Bill uses three, while Marissa uses two. Bill says his work area is paperless, and he gets about 100 emails a day. Only 100? Well he uses filtering to keep it to this level, with only email from previous correspondence and any of his partner companies going directly to him. All other email is presented to him as a summary write-up, compiled by his assistant.
Marissa, on the other hand, says she receives around 700-800 work related emails a day. On weekends she spends between 10-14 hours straight catching up on email. Doesn't sound like much of a weekend to me at all, and I would say this process definitely needs refining!
Bill also says that desktop search has had a major effect on boosting his productivity, by giving him instant access to information across his network without having to navigate through folders.
For me, being a lowly web designer, my email load isn't anywhere near this, so I am able to manage my email manually without any problems. I BCC everything to a GMail account which I use as a free online backup of all my email.
I use two screens when I am working on site at BHP, and I really have found that it makes a difference to productivity. At home, where I am forced back to one screen, it becomes slightly frustrating and slower to move windows around and switch between everything again.
My experience with desktop search has been liberating as well. I use Google Desktop and can find an old email or document in a few seconds. It's rare now that I have to trawl through folders to find something. Some of the plug-ins for Google Desktop are useful as well, enabling me to instantly see stock prices, email accounts and RSS news from various sites by simply sliding my cursor to the slide-out sidebar.
How do you work? I'd be interested to know of any tips and tricks you have for enhancing productivity.