What!? No Email!?

Although I’ve been writing all of my life, I am a relatively new blogger.

As it is with any new adventure, I’ve come across some challenges. In the entrepreneurial blogging world, my main challenge (er, so far) has revolved around time management.

The first hurdle I’ve had to overcome is one of discipline. It’s been hard to make time to sit down and write. It took speaking with one of my mentors to get me over the hurdle. He told me that he blocks out days every week to do certain tasks: if he has to travel, for example, he tries to do it Tuesday through Thursday. He has focus (/task/desk) time on Mondays and networking on Fridays. I’ve also read that Jack Canfield sets aside a large chunk of time every week to write. No exceptions. So I sat down with a blank calendar and mapped out what a perfect week would look like. After one week of realizing that I can’t possibly schedule every minute of every day and expect to follow it consistently (talk about blocking creativity!), I opted for designating chunks of time and subjects for days. For example, I write on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and try to limit networking to Wednesdays and Fridays. So far it’s worked really well for me.

After conquering one obstacle, I soon realized that although I had dedicated time to writing, I was easily distracted by the *ding* of my email. And then there’s that pesky little yellow notification envelope that stares at me, daring me to click away from what I’m doing so I can see what turns out to be the mass-sent solicitation email that I just couldn’t live without. By about the second day of this, I did something bold…. I turned off my email. Yep! I completely shut it down. Gone were the dings and the taunting yellow envelope. Present was my state of mind and focus on the task at hand. I realized that the solicitation email was still there two hours later when I opened my email back up. And, even more surprisingly, the world was still functioning just as effectively without my constant checking of emails as it was before. Amazing. And as a side benefit – I’ve found myself coming alive with the creative process of writing. I’ve unearthed a side of me that has been dormant since my college days.

Time management is one of those things that I believe each of us struggles with in our own unique ways. And there is no one “cure” for this ailment, as we all think and process in different ways. I’d love to hear your comments – what has worked for you as you’ve learned to manage your time over the years?

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3 thoughts on “What!? No Email!?

  1. Great book called “The Art of List Making” is a really useful tool for helping manage the “time management” crisis, which I have actually listened to a podcast about recently.

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  2. Years ago I had to silence the phones and computer as I found the constant “ding” was a distracter and at the end of the day I found myself staring at my unchecked “to do” listed wondering why I had not completed anything yet had been going non-stop all day. I set times in the day that I check the electronic inboxes – though now they have grown to include multiple mailboxes and texts.

    I recently read an article sent around by one of our office administrative executives dealing with the tech-based workplace. It suggested adding a line in the email signature stating when to expect a response. At first I thought this idea was great since I am not tied to my email or mobile device so I do not immediately respond to emails. As I have been doing some research I find conflicting responses. Thoughts from you?

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    1. Hi Leilani – Thanks for your thoughts. I think it would depend on your job. My concern would be that something would pop up and prevent my responding at that appointed time, potentially creating an unpleasant situation. But I think it’s fine to have a schedule for yourself: Tim Ferriss, author of “The 4-Hour Workweek,” suggests checking your email just before lunch and again at 4:00 pm… and move to checking it only once per day as soon as possible. Check out http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/autoresponse for more details from Tim.

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