Are you a Master Debater With Your Time

Are you a Master Debater With Your Time?

Do you feel as though sometimes you just don’t know what to do, when to do it, and where you should be when doing it? We are bombarded with email and social media that have no value, eat up our day, and limit proactive behaviors. Then we masterfully debate whether we should be focusing on these irrelevant assignment of priorities of which to respond, unsubscribe, or delete.

I recognized these life sucking behaviors by listening to one of my favorite audio books The Four Hour Work Week that helped me shift course and become more focused on what I need to get done in one day. My output has increased dramatically and as a result, work less.

Every interruption takes at least 10 seconds to reconnect with our previous thought and resume progress. If we received 60 emails per day then that would amount to 1 hour of time (24 day work month is one entire day) that was absorbed through the irritible sensation to check or hope that the one email that came in would make or break our day. These brief lapses occur because of the nervous habit to check email, have the automatic send/receive turned on, and shifting attention to meaningless tasks which if anything suck the life out of the entire day.

Let me share some of the most sinful consumers of our time.

  1. Checking email every 5 minutes on computer or PDA phone
  2. Automatic send/receive for email on computer or phone.
  3. Social media instant messages and email notifications during the day.

Here are some of my recent changes that have and will allow me to work less and save some the frustration of handling email social media.

1. Fine yourself when you check your email.

I listened to Marshall Goldsmith, a global leadership guru, talk about how we can adjust negative behaviors overnight if we are committed to change. He says to pick your favorite charity, determine what the negative behavior is, and then every time you engage in that behavior then you must pay a certain amount to that charity. The behavior could be saying a bad word, using a slang phase, or in this case check email. In one week period I went from checking email to 25 times to 15 times, to 12, to five. Now this means that I do owe $57 dollars to RPAC which I do already contribute to but am less distracted and more productive.   Why?  Cause I hate to lose money.

2. Auto-responders.

Most people ask you questions by email that 1. they already know the answer to, 2. could find the answer if they just spent some time surfing the web, and 3. could visit your own website to get what they want. To prevent this information bottleneck from happening two things must happen.

  1. You must add enough content, descriptions, videos, and downloadable materials to your website or blog to streamline decisions. Every website should have a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page to answer common questions.
  2. Train inquiring contacts that you only check email a few times a day but will provide you with information immediately via auto-responders to answer commonly asked questions. Always leave a mobile phone number in case the problem is an emergency. Add a message at the end that asks for follow up to the auto-responder if needed.

These two items can reduce the amount of messages in your inbox and save the amount of times you have to reply.

Try emailing me at the following and see what happens:

All of these auto-responders can conveniently be found on a Help page

3. Disable Send/Receive.

Avid email users have two major distractions. First, the auto-message preview that pops up in the bottom right corner that catches the corner of your eye is the biggest brain fart that there is. Some may argue that they some emails could be an emergency but I disagree. I think that if there were a true emergency someone would try to find you by telephone (mobile or office) or come by in person to make sure you are still breathing. This results from the the automatic send receive being turned on also which is our second problem. Too prevent further interruptions from email in your Outlook you must turn off your Desktop Alert and then Disable the Automatic Send/Receive.

If you have trouble viewing the pictures, click on each one for a larger view.

Here’s how to Turn the Desktop Alert Off

a. Open your Microsoft Outlook and Choose Tools and then select Options.

b. Mail Format, Email Options

c. Advanced Email Options

d. Uncheck boxes under When new items arrive in my Inbox

Turn off the Automatic Send/Receive

a. Open your Microsoft Outlook and Choose Tools and then select Options.

b. Choose Mail Setup and then Send/Receive