A person we know makes eye contact with us as we are passing each other walking in the street to an appointment.
“Hey, how are you?“
“Great! Really busy! You?”
“Yeah, me too! Busy, busy.”
“Nice to see you.”
“Yes, same. We should plan to get together – two couples – one day soon.”
“Yeah, let’s do that! Gotta, go!”
“Say hello at home.”
Aren’t we all so – - – BUSY!
Seriously, what is the deal? Why do we all find that being busy is important and that being busy equates to actually executing and getting important and critical things accomplished?
My proposal to you is to get unplugged everyday as soon as possible. Plan out what you must get accomplished each day and then figure out the priorities and begin to execute the plan for the day. Better yet – plan out the day before you plug in at all!
Right away things that people will bring up and ask about are:
- checking email
- checking voicemail
- reading and responding to text messages
Rather than suggest a full ‘cold turkey’ approach, my suggestion is to set a time and then a time limit each day for these activities.
For Example: Schedule three or four specific times each day for fifteen minutes each in total. During this time check email, texts and voicemail. These times might be at approximately 10 AM – 1 PM – 3 PM – 5:30 PM.
The times – how many there are (two or three or four) – how long exactly is the time period (15, 10, 20 minutes) – is a personal preference.
The point is to set up a schedule with the parameters and then follow it! Adhere to the new schedule. If the 5:30 PM time slot bothers you consider why it bothers you? Are you feeling as if it is too early as you will be working and reading and responding to email all night long at least up until 11 PM? Or is the 5:30 PM time after 5 PM and you only have access to email in your office and you leave every single day at 4:55 PM?
It is not for me to judge how anyone conducts their work. This is about being more efficient, effective and productive in the work we all are doing. The busy work which may creep into anyone’s work habits must be erased. Analyze what really needs to have your focus and time devoted to and spend your time and effort on that and much less time checking your email.
Use the comments area to let me know where you find yourself keeping busy instead of being productive
Mitch Tublin is an advanced certified executive and personal coach who resides in Stamford, CT.