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January 10, 2014

My New Year’s Resolution: Email Recommitments

Rumor has it I’m considered an expert on this productivity stuff. . . calendars, time management, to-do lists, what-have-you. But it doesn’t mean I’m perfect. Far from it. . .

In fact, my dear friend Hilary likes to lovingly remind me of my famous Sunday double-booking when I was supposed to be at a cookie-baking party and on a train to New York City at the same time. How’s that for a classic personal versus professional calendar collision?

But, I digress, that’s NOT why I’m writing.

I’m writing because I would like to publicly acknowledge (and try to change) my email checking habits. I was reminded of this when I sat down to work on a Together Leader book chapter last week…and just…couldn’t…stop…checking.

Emails are too frequent, too much, on too many devices, and too multi-tasky. Their impact?  Email is preventing me from doing real work!

And it’s all my fault. I often go offline for two days at a time to deliver workshops (good), my inbox gets backed up (bad), and then I have to do a major cleanout (ugly).

But last night, for the first time in three months, I processed to down to zero my personal and professional inboxes. Everything was replied to, filed or turned into an Outlook Task. Go me!

Starting NOW, on this victorious note, here are my recommitments to healthy email habits:

  • STOP checking email on my iPhone when traveling and moving around. It’s distracting, dangerous, and I often cannot answer anyway. Consider removing from phone entirely.

Newsflash: My beloved iphone 5C was stolen last week (for those of you who actually read this blog, yes, that was my second iphone 5 stolen in three months) and for a number of reasons too boring to write about, I waited a week to replace my phone. At first I was twitchy, but then I kind of loved the freedom. No more glancing at stoplights (c’mon, you know you do it!), no more peeking at night, and my favorite. . . no more using my phone as a clock. Wear a watch. It’s better. Trust me.

  • Schedule THREE times each day to check email and process down to zero. No more backup! Consider re-watching Merlin Mann’s Inbox Zero talk.
  • Refresh my clear communication habits, which were once very good. Don’t just suggest a time to meet, giving multiple options and phone numbers. Greet people, give full information and avoid multiple back-and-forth transactions.

Sounds small, I know, but I think the recommitment will make a huge difference in my productivity and focus! Keep your fingers crossed for me!

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