What do your days look like? Are they chunks of frenetic activity, interspersed with catching up on a thousand emails? Do you control your days, or do they control you?
We’ve all heard the same advice: email is obtrusive, turn it off or don’t look at it for extended periods of each day, and your productivity will soar.
Really? Have those advice-givers ever actually tried it? If so, and if they were successful at it, then they are clearly not as in-demand as the rest of us are!
Everyone has a different dynamic in their position or job. Some jobs are time sensitive. Some are people sensitive. Some, like mine, are both.
Increasingly, people (including me!) expect and demand very quick response times. So as not to appear hypocritical, I try to provide immediate follow up myself. Can that be done if your email is turned off for hours each day? Not in my world!
So how does one go about structuring one’s day when one does not know what will be thrown at one from one moment to the next?
Each person must design their own blueprint to try to work within in order to create some semblance of order in an otherwise chaotic daily schedule.
In my case, I create a To Do list the day before each workday, including all the “must dos” in one column, and the “be nice to dos” in another column.
Some days, you will be hard-pressed just to get done what you absolutely have to before running to put out fires. Other days, you might have a spare 30 minutes, and rather than peeking at Insta or TikTok, you’ll have a list right in front of you of other things you’ve been wanting to do. Break down tasks into bite-sized pieces, and get a bit done at a time (just like eating an elephant!).
Ask yourself, at various points during the day, is this a good use of my time? Am I being efficient and effective? Is this current activity forwarding me toward my goals? If the answer at any point is NO, then stop wasting precious time and get back on track. Life is too short to let moments, minutes and hours pass you by.
And if you won’t listen to me, maybe you’ll listen to the Allman Brothers!
Well, hear us now, we ain’t wastin’ time no more
‘Cause time goes by like hurricanes
Runnin’ after subway trains
Don’t forget the pouring rain.