Choice 4: Rule Your Technology; Don’t Let it Rule You®

Make your technology work for you, not against you.

In the first three Choices, you have a clear view of the extraordinary things you want to accomplish. But you still face a serious hazard from incoming disruptions: real challenges to managing your attention. You need a simple process to keep from getting derailed by technology.

Choice 4 operates on the principle of alignment. Whatever technology we use should work in sync to help us achieve our Q2 priorities. Technology can become a trusted partner to manage information when set up intentionally, rather than become a channel for unplanned interruptions and distractions.

Every piece of information that comes to us (especially through email) fits into one of four categories (the Core Four):

  1. Appointments: Things you need to do at specific times
  2. Tasks: Things you need to do that are not yet scheduled
  3. Contacts: Information about people you interact with
  4. Notes/Documents: Other information you want to keep track of that does not fall into one of the other categories

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The 3 Master Moves

We can apply three master moves to automate our responses to each incoming piece of information:

  • Win Without Fighting
  • Turn It Into What It Is
  • Link to Locate

Apply the 3 Master Moves

Master Move 1: Win Without Fighting

The goal is to confidently automate as many decisions as possible so your brain does not have to use up energy on the mundane or unnecessary. Master the rules or filter functions of your email program to redirect and handle messages before they ever hit your inbox.

Master Move 2: Turn It Into What It Is

Eliminate any additional Q3 and Q4 activities from your inbox that rules and filters did not handle, then effectively manage the Q1s and Q2s. Since every email fits into one or more of the core 4, you can immediately Turn It Into What It Is and get it out of your inbox.

Master Move 3: Link to Locate

Eliminate the need to find all the resources you need for important meetings and appointments by having them all in one place at your fingertips. It involves seeing how all of these resources interrelate, then connecting them with the appointment so they’re available instantly when you need them.

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Know what matters most and then create a set of boundaries so that every day, you will do what matters most to you. If you do, you will not only achieve your goals, you’ll feel fulfilled, you will feel inspired, and you’ll inspire those around you.

— Dr. Edward Hallowell

The 5 Choices to Extraordinary Productivity


Discern the important from the urgent and not important and increase your Return on the Moment (ROM) amid fierce distractions.


Redefine and prioritize your roles in terms of extraordinary results to achieve high-priority goals.


Use tips and tools to schedule your priorities (instead of prioritizing your schedule) and execute your most important options with excellence.


Make your technology work for you, not against you, and turn it into a productivity engine.


Increase your energy to think clearly, make good decisions, and feel more accomplished at the end of every day.

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