Recently, my colleague, Stephanie Romero, wrote a post called The Distraction of Email. Amy Andrews, blogger extraordinaire, wrote a post called Ignoring Your Inbox, which was a review on a book about increasing productivity. I can tell you firsthand that email can throw your entire day off kilter. So, these posts were close to my heart.
My morning routine included checking email and Facebook. I wanted to get a jump on the day by knowing what was going on in social media and checking to see if any important emails were sent or answered. I thought it was the right way to start off the day. I was wrong. Checking email first thing may suck you into a blackhole of reading, deleting, and composing emails for hours. By the time lunch hits your “to-do” list is already shot. My routine became one of chasing daylight hours to catch up from getting caught up in a web of emails. Facebook is not much better. Since many home businesses thrive from the promotion and social interaction of Facebook it is not uncommon for home professionals to log in time there. The problem comes when the time logged in distracts you from work.
My routine when I checked email and Facebook in the morning was choatic. I would respond, send, and delete emails. Sounds simple but it took quite some time. I would then update my business page’s status and answer any new comments. That would lead me to looking through other pages and getting caught up sharing, commenting, and updating my status again By the time it was all said and done, my morning routine took over my alotted time to work until after lunch. I have children so I cannot easily make up for lost time online. The lost time is simply lost.
Once I decided to take the challenge, Amy Andrews mentioned in her post, and give myself one hour to dive into my work before checking email, I noticed a difference. Nothing I had to say on Facebook could not wait an hour. Emails, important or not, could wait one hour. That hour was used to dive into enough work to provide some breathing room later on. I got phone calls and a few articles out of the way first thing in the morning. I stopped checking email and Facebook throughout the day. I had focused sessions with email and Facebook. So, my results were twofold. One, I dove into work first thing and two, I stopped checking throughout the day. This helped me accomplish the items on my “to-do” list while still managing to respond quickly to emails and Facebook comments. Basically, I divided my day into focused sessions rather than a scattered day.
I challenge you to give it a try! What do you find distracts you the most from working during the day?