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Work is busy and it’s getting busier.
Life is busy too. Especially for those of us with young children, now that the new school year has started.
I was with a client recently who felt that trying to implement my morning routine of journaling and planning was a step too far. She felt that something which was supposed to provide clarity and focus, was instead creating more anxiety.
I get that. I really do.
Because if I’m honest, with so much going on I’ve felt the same at times over the past few months.
But at the same time, I’m one hundred per cent convinced that slowing down in order to speed up is the right approach.
That anxiety we feel when we sit down and pause for just fifteen minutes at the start of each day, to reflect and plan, is a powerful data point. It proves how much we need to pause for thought.
We need to move through that anxiety as we re-programme our brains to work, and live, in a much more effective way. Because as a result of many years in the corporate world, we’ve come to believe that busyness is a sign of our value in the workplace.
But are we busy doing the right work?
Or are we just reacting?
We’ve come to believe that our first priority each day is to log on and check our emails. But truth be told, most of us check our emails on our phone long before we get anywhere near our computers. We probably don’t even make it to the shower before checking our emails!
What does it do to our mental state when the first thing we see each morning is 50 new emails containing requests from our boss, issues from customers or suppliers and a news round-up telling us all that is bad and broken in the world?
Let me tell you what it does.
It steals our focus, it increases our anxiety and puts us on the back foot.
But what if we didn’t check our emails first thing in the morning?
I’m currently one week into an experiment taken from Tim Ferriss’ book The 4-Hour Workweek.
I have a constant out-of-office on my main email account saying that I’m only checking my emails at 12 and 4pm. I’ve included my mobile number in case anyone needs to contact me for anything that really can’t wait. It’s been a scary process and a few people, my wife included, have told me that they thought it was a bit odd when they received the out-of-office reply.
But my productivity has definitely improved. I’m getting my most important work done first thing in the morning before reacting to a lot of stuff in my inbox, which truth be told, isn’t usually my top priority.
It’s not been easy though, and it’s been a little scary. I had all the thoughts that you’d expect. What if my clients get frustrated and ditch me… what if I miss something urgent etc.
But guess what?
Nothing has happened, nothing has changed externally and nobody seems bothered.
What’s more, not one person has called my mobile saying they need an urgent response to their email.
The world is still turning and I’ve still got all my amazing clients.
I’m certain that if I push through the discomfort I’ll continue to get more and more value from the experiment.
Are you ready to give it a try?
Wishing you a productive and happy week ahead!
PS. If you want to find out how you can work with me, book a free 30 minute call here.