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Actionable Viva Insights
Personalized work recommendations that remind and balance
Mindfulness and wellbeing boost productivity. I believe this stems from being planful - a skill I continuously try to improve (work in progress). And I’m always open to support from a little AI here and there. I often ask what I would do without a few helpful, intelligent reminders AND active time protection to GSD.
It’s been a while since I’ve mentally claimed a new personal productivity app as a part of my day-to-day. It’s not to say we all don’t turn to various one-off apps here and there for specific tasks. For me, my work revolves around Outlook, Teams, Lists, SharePoint, and Office. And now, more and more - at least once a week - I turn to Microsoft Viva Insights.
For this article. I’ll aim to be clear what it is and the three main ways I use it (benefit from it) as an individual.
At its core, Viva Insight understands how your work habits and helps you take action based on who you work with and what you and they are working on - with the added benefit of helping you save time, remember important utterances, and remain focused. Note: With personal insights, only you—the individual—can see your data. Those insights, recommendations, and experiences are for your eyes only.
It’s easy to install as a left-rail app in Teams. Once available, you’ll see something similar to the below - the Viva Insights home page:
Stay connected via prior conversations
“What was that I said?”, I’ve often said out loud to myself. Among the flood of communications - big and small - this is critical - to remember - to recall those things that might require follow up or lead me to schedule a 1:1 to catch up with someone and dive deeper.
With so many communications – distributed across emails, chats and shared files - it can be hard to keep track of important asks and tasks that require follow up - so it’s great to have one place to turn to and nudge me back into being an organized human being. This is where the Stay connected tab comes in handy. I can scroll through and review a number of recent reminders that flow from all these conversations and take action. I can even pin certain items if I know I can’t address them immediately.
In all, the Stay connected experience is truly like a brain-unfarting machine, the “oh, yeah - that’s what I said” that leads to gettin’ it done.
Protect-time to schedule focus-time
“Book time” before your time gets booked. AKA, work uninterrupted during the day—before it fills up with meetings. I used to reply to meeting invites using the ‘propose new time’ feature of Outlook with the added phrase, “was keeping that white space on my calendar to get work done” - though true, always sounded selfish and protective to write out loud. And yes, I know I can create time placeholder meetings manually on my own, but…
… in one click of the Book time button I can protect time on my calendar - time the service already knows is “open - and minimize notifications; this appears to others to let them know I’m focusing. You can also build this time-protecting muscle by using “Focus plans” that allow you to put recurring focus time blocks on your calendar.
You can also modify your quiet time settings anytime to help create better boundaries. This gives you the ability to set quiet time to silence mobile notifications from Teams and Outlook after-hours. Additionally, you will be able see personalized insights on how well you are disconnecting over time; ooh, how Insights’ful!
Pop out app for background music and meditation
The value of this one awaits when you click the linked phrase “More mindfulness exercises“ on the Headspace card within the Insights home page. It’s a wonderful page of guided meditations and focus music when back-to-back meetings ball your shoulders up with stress and make it harder to stay engaged and focused.
My “been using it for a bit” tip: Right-click the app icon from the left-hand rail of Teams and choose Pop out app; this allows you to run in the background while using other parts of Teams. I like the “Lo-fi times”, 90 minutes of focusing-focused music that plays uninterrupted.
Researchers confirms “meditation breaks not only make us less exhausted by the end of the day, but also improve our ability to focus and engage while in meetings.” Why not prioritize wellbeing as part of your busy workday? I often turn to Body scan meditation to help take a breather. I’m also a fan of podwalking - gotta get up and move, too. 🚶🏻♂️
If any of the above prompts you to want to learn more about what Viva Insights and how it might help you or your organization, dive into one slide, one video, and a tweet - all below - designed by the Viva Insights team to help understanding and realize the value that awaits.
📺 “How Microsoft Viva Insights fosters wellbeing and productivity across a hybrid work culture” from Microsoft Ignite, presented by Erik Anderson (GPM) and Ekta Aggarwal (GPM):
… and the tweet (that leads to a recent, relevant Viva Insights disclosure blog post):
Learn more about Microsoft Vivia Insights, plus a great Microsoft Mechanics video that provides a wide view of all its value, “Microsoft Viva Insights | Improve productivity and wellbeing“ [Demo and tutorial, including set-up] 📺.
Be selfish with your time. Balance it with your priorities and be open to a little robot help from time to time. You can’t remember everything, and your colleagues will thank you for not forgetting. And hey, if you’re less stressed while keeping up with it all - that’s the real gold at the end of this insightful AI tunnel.
Cheers, Mark “Breathe” Kashman 🧘🏻♂️
P.S. (Pun Sharing)
Get your eye rolls ready to bake… one from me, @mkashman 🙄, and one pun from the world: