With January over and the first of Spring not looking much like spring, how are you doing?
I feel like I have just emerged from hibernation. January was a very busy month but I was sluggish. It arrived and passed in a swish. I spent the first two weeks of January on the radio, interview after interview about goals and goal setting. How to set them? how can we make them work for us? How can we avoid the challenges? But it’s only now the first week in February that I am getting a chance to think about my goals.
Viva La Presidenta
In January I took on the presidency of Network Dublin, an organisation that supports women in business, the professions and the arts. My Inbox exploded. Up to now when I advised busy executives about managing their inbox I was very aware of my manageable inbox with an average of 30 emails a day. I see so many business people drowning in email. Never having the time to get on top of things. January came and it happened to me. I watched as my zen inbox, no matter how hard I tried never got below 20 emails. I was suffering from Email Overload. I would try desperately to clear it each day and as more and more email would pop in to provoke me!
The Penny Dropped
A couple of weeks of email hell and I realised it wasn’t my email system that was failing me it was my behaviour. I was pissing against the wind (as they say) I had fallen into the “I’m so busy trap” that organisations pay me to diffuse. So I asked myself the questions, the ones that I ask resistance clients. The clients who say they can’t live without their email notifications or can’t avoid checking their email umpteen times during the day.
- Do you worry about answering emails while working with a client? No
- Do you worry about answering emails while you are on the loo? Eh No
- Do you close your email programme while working on something else? Oops
So once I realised I was being a busy fool, a flapping butterfly and giddy goat. I stopped
The Attitude Shift
I changed my attitude. I did the following
- I reminded myself that email is not my ToDo List
- To process my email at intervals throughout the day
- I reminded people that if they needed me urgently to use the phone
- I reminded myself not to fight it, email will keep coming
- I batched similar work together
- I worked from my schedule and not my email
- I stopped panicking, flapping, stressing and chasing
- I made a plan!
I took a couple of hours to plan my week and my month. I realised that Christmas had eroded all my good habits. I had forgotten to schedule my writing time. Thinking I was too busy rather than creating a schedule. I scheduled my weekly writing to ensure it gets done. I returned to my early mornings in order to make time for exercise, my stress relief and sanity pill. I reengaged my good habits and stepped off the treadmill, back to doing things my way. Back to taking control. The more habits and routines you bring into your day the less your brain has to work on making decisions, freeing it up for more focus and creative thinking.
Remember the famous words “Fail to Plan and Plan to Fail” and no it wasn’t Roy Keane who said that but Benjamin Franklin.
Stay in control and don’t let the busy bug catch you unawares.
How was your January? Have you set your goals for the year?
Photo Credit: Two Tornados Panos by Zachary Biggs