The article goes on, asking you to ‘tell the truth’ as to whether you email during conference calls, or surf the net during meetings. Oops :) I have to say I’m probably one of those...I’m not proud of it or anything, but I do tend to multi-task. I do however agree that if you try to do everything at once, you’re not focussing properly on anything at all. Honestly, it’s happened to me a few times; I’ve quickly responded to an email whilst I’m on the phone - then reread the email a little later and I’ve addressed it to the person I was speaking to on the phone. Not exactly the most professional.
I read an article recently that said you should dedicate certain times to checking and responding to emails - don’t always be readily available to everyone; check them first thing in the morning, then at midday, then mid-afternoon. I used to be guilty of this - the second an email came through, I’d deal with it even if I was in the middle of something else. I don’t need to explain the ramifications of stopping and starting a project every five minutes - let’s just say it’s not great for productivity. Now I’ve adopted a new principle - I rank what I’m doing on a scale of 1-5; 1 being not so important and 5 being ‘do not disturb’. If an email comes through and it ranks higher than what I’m currently doing then I’ll deal with it then; if it ranks lower then it can wait. It’s a pretty simple system but seems to be working pretty well for me!
The HBR Blog article continues to say that it’s up to each of us to set out our own days (whether you work in a very structured company or work from home) - by using these three behaviours:
1. “Do the most important thing first in the morning”
2. “Establish regular, scheduled time to think more long term, creatively, or strategically”
3. “Take real and regular vacations”
Do you agree? Do you have three set behaviours that you adopt on a daily basis? Let me know and let’s start a whole forum of ideas on how to make our days more productive and less stressful!