Never Check Your E-mail in the Morning
One of the key habits for any Master Networker is actively staying in touch with his/her network. This is no easy feat, it is the downfall of many a business person, and it can be a huge differentiator between you and your competition. The challenge is how to make the time to follow-up with your network, especially in light of the constant distractions that are thrown our way everyday. This is a question that I get on a daily basis. So here is a powerful strategy that you can implement today.
Never Check Your E-mail in the Morning
This is a strategy based on the book Never Check E-Mail In the Morning: And Other Unexpected Strategies for Making Your Work Life Work by Author and Professional Organizer Julie Morgenstern; and it is shared by numerous experts in the field of time management. The book is excellent and I highly getting a copy today (CLICK HERE to find it on Amazon.com). Here are just a few of her suggestions:
- Embrace your Life-Work Balance: Only by putting a bit of distance between yourself and work can you rebuild your energy and understand what you need to do. She recommends tracking your time to see what you are actually giving short shrift. If you are more comfortable at work than at play, work hard to break out of that trap. Work to prioritize your work life and let go of things you can, delegate them, and schedule time to leave. Furthermore, schedule your home life a bit too, to make yourself play and enjoy more. Start your evening and weekends with a self-renewal activity.
- Develop an Entrepreneurial Mind Set: You own your own career. Do not cede control of it to others, but consider in this dynamic world how you should be taking control of it for yourself: don’t become a victim. Find the things that make your work life meaningful and pursue them. Take ownership of your life. Examine your value to the enterprise and strive to increase it. Build on your skills.
- Choose the Most Important Tasks: Dance close to the revenue line. Basically, there are some activities that are closer to the “revenue line” of your organization. Do those things first: or at least make sure you get to them.
- Prioritize from the Top Down: Do the essential first! Don’t fill in with a bunch of little things that don’t really need to get done. First things first!
- Remember the 3 Qs and the 4 Ds: The Questions: How long will it take? What is the return on investment? What is closest to the revenue line? Does it really matter? The 4 Ds: Delete (What’s the worst that can happen if I don’t do it?); Delay (Sometimes you need to delay until a time when you are better able to fulfill the requirements); Delegate (If someone else can do it better, faster, or even well enough, give it to them!); Diminish (Use templates or simplifications to get through work faster)
- Tips to Conquer Email: Avoid Email for the First Hour of the Day … Email is a bag of instantaneous distractions that will inevitably scatter your brain. Find a time when you can turn it off and really create. Focus on your most critical task. Turn your email alarm off-process your email in sprints & process all of your email completely during those sprints. Say what you need on the subject line. Start longer emails by telling the reader what you need from them. Stick to one or two points per email. Use template responses. Don’t send everything to everybody. One way to deal with email is that it should be for the routine, not for the emergency; that’s where the phone comes in.
- Pay Attention to your natural energy cycles: Matching your work to the energy cycles of your day can optimize your productivity. Sometimes this is a daily cycle, sometimes longer, but building in these expectations can make you more productive.
- Avoid Multitasking: Multitasking makes you stupid. Not only when you are doing it, but afterwords too! It needs to be avoided if possible, since getting in to a new task can take approximately 15 minutes. Many switches a day are disastrous to productivity.
- Group similar tasks: Do similar things at the same time. Follow a daily pattern if that is possible. It can be helpful to have a transition ritual, to be consistent, and to train those around you what they should expect. Schedule your time so you are energized: take a walk, stretch, snack, etc.
- Be a perfectionist only where you need to be: Gauge what needs to be done when for each project, give yourself a finite amount of time, and produce. When you have a task which you tend to obsess over, delegate it.