Stop the insanity! Don’t babysit your inbox all day, every day or even all day at your desk. This is now my second or third productivity tip this week… because the things I’m doing are working. The stat or guesstimate that I believe I heard listening to the 4-hr Workweek (total lie of a system for 95% of entrepreneurs, but good outside-the-box thinking) appears to be correct in my life.
For every e-mail replied to, you get 1.7 responses back.
I had no idea that had any chance of being correct until I started checking my inbox twice per day on weekdays and once per day on the weekends. The feeling is somewhere between “flabbergasted” and “elated” each day I spend 5-20 minutes in my inbox. It’s taken a lot of willpower to stick to it since all of my mobile devices have two or three mail apps on the home pages. I should move them, yes? Today took almost no willpower to wake up at 6am and not check mail until after 1pm. I’m done already and the Gmail and Google Apps tabs are closed until tomorrow. I sent one e-mail, sent a reply, got a reply, and responded again in 20 minutes.
Remember that quote above?
it’s a rat wheel, I tell you
They don’t call it “the rat race” for nothing, people. Every day, people all over the globe get up and let other people inject other peoples’ priorities into their day almost immediately. Be honest: do you check your e-mail on your phone or tablet:
- Before leaving your bedroom or en suite?
- Before breakfast?
- Before exercise?
- Before spending time with other people?
- As soon as you get to your desk?
Not only is that exercising poor boundaries, you’re handicapping your brain for the rest of the day. How many times are you going to bed and have the same “Item #1″ on your list staring at you as your head hits the pillow? I no longer go to bed with remorse that I didn’t touch a piece of code or go for my walk (because someone’s e-mail persuaded my sense of duty to go straight to my desk) or write some content. I started writing a book in February. Publisher and everything is ready. I just need to write.
How stupid have I been the past 6 months?
examine other people living the sort of life you’d like
About 2 years ago, I began wondering how people like Brian Gardner and Chris Brogan got so much done. They’re both writing, promoting their brands, being on social media, and Brian has always been available to bounce something off him even though he’s also training for Iron Man and re-designing his website every 4-8 weeks. I was over here drowning in easy stuff and I knew there was a system that some people use that I needed to learn.
So I went about the business of learning that system as best I could without pestering everyone in my network who was a few steps ahead of me. I got audiobooks, found sites to read dozens of articles, tried different apps, and did pick some peoples’ brains over lunch while I was in Austin for a WordPress conference.
Those people don’t let e-mail run their lives. None of them. I watched. They’re present where they are, not lost in thought because they have “thinking times” built into their schedule. Creativity also improved my productivity and have nearly doubled revenue this month as a result of working when I’m at my desk and playing when I’m not.
Funny thing, that is.
Are you willing to be radical to see if it changes your trajectory?