Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Almost the Middle of January Post

So here it is nearly the middle of January 2010 and I've written one blog post all year. I promised myself I'd be better at posting. Believe it or not, while you may enjoy reading them, their helpful to me to focus and even improve my writing.

Well, I'm back into the swing of things at work. Yet this time I've made a fundamental change to my approach and prioritization. So far it's working well. So what is it?

Believe it or not I only look at email 2-3 times a day and it's made a world of difference. For one thing, instead of getting caught up in the IM-chat like emails from people in meetings on their BlackBerries, I review and respond to more fully thought out content after it's been through a few rounds. It's amazing how a two minute email can distract you from what you're trying to accomplish. It's not so much the two minutes but the ramp up time to reacquaint yourself with what you were supposed to be doing - only to be sidetracked again in a few minutes by another request.

I've even shut off my Outlook system tray notification. While Outlook 2007 has great features like notifying you with more detail, it's completely distracting.

Also the hour or so that I do devote to email I'm more focused; I can respond with greater substance and clarity.

It's really about the ability to focus that matters. For instance when I'm not in a meeting or in one of my email responding sessions, I'm completely dedicated to the task at hand. Last week I got out two important documents and made significant progress on an upcoming pitch. They've been hanging over my head for quite some time so it was nice to get so much accomplished. However, I should mention that a good portion of one of these documents was done at home while I was sick. But there is a noticeable difference. Even my colleagues have pointed it out. I walk out of meetings that are not in alignment with my priorities.

And as for priorities I've set up attainable yet still challenging tasks each day instead of a laundry list of everything under the sun that I need to do. That approach was just too overwhelming.

Anyway, over and out...


madtexter ☺☺☺☺☺☺ (corey james) said...

I wholeheartedly agree with your approach to focusing on one thing at hand. A lot of people get so caught up in multitasking that they never really get any one project finished in a timely manner. They just let everything circle their head all the time. Personally, I think multitasking is overrated. Sometimes, I even shut Outlook down, and don't answer the phone. If something is urgent enough, that person will come looking for me (they'll have to!)

Good for you for keeping your focus!

Anonymous said...

Excellent job! Now we want to hear that you've gone to lunch every day away from your computer. At least 20 minutes...go walk around the building or something.

Ur-spo said...

I was glad to see you posting again. You sound like you're making very good progress for the new year. Shutting things down is an excellent way of relieving stress.
Just don't shut down your blog!

Lemuel said...

I think your approach has much merit for productivity.
As for Outlook, I always found it to be a distraction. I would not let it on during all work hours, but only open it a few times during the day.