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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