Click on the play button to hear today’s realisation

In This Episode…

In this episode I share the realisation I have had whilst being on the road delivering live seminars. Being in the relatively benign environment of my office is very different to the demands of being on my feet in front of an audience all day.

I should have foreseen the challenges I would have faced, but I didn’t and so I stumbled across a (now obvious) solution. It has to do with how I process my e mails. Listen to this episode to hear about my experiences and the increased flexibility I now need to incorporate into my daily routines.

Episode Show Notes…

00:09 – This week I have been on the road delivering seminars. This means my daily routine developed back in the office, no longer works.

02:10 – The biggest thing that has shown up as a challenge for me has been dealing with my e mails. This of course is a problem for many people for these reasons:

  • 02:39 – The huge volume of e mail traffic that hits our inbox can be overwhelming.
  • 03:08 – The drip feeding of those e mails into our psyche if we have the new e mail alert switched on. This is a prime cause of distraction and interruption.

04:26 – Top Tip #1 – TURN OFF YOUR E MAIL ALERTS!!!! This will save you a heap of angst and stress and will allow you to focus more.

04:51 – Top Tip #2 – BLOCK OUT TWO SMALL CHUNKS OF TIME TO CHECK AND RESPOND TO E MAILS. This freaks people out when I recommend it, but it works!

05:49 – I had developed the routine/habit of checking my e mail at 11.00 and 15.00 daily for 30 minutes each time (controlled by the timer on my iPhone).

06:10 – Unfortunately when I am running a seminar all day, I don’t have the luxury of 30 minutes twice a day at those times.

07:08 – I inadvertently stumbled across a new way of working (though it was done by trial and error):

  • Day 1 – I was all over the place trying to snatch quick looks at my e mail during the day once the limitations of my schedule dawned on me
  • Day 2 – I ended up trying to catch up with my e mail during the lunch break. That didn’t work too well because my mind was still on being a seminar leader.
  • Day 3 – I left my messages until the very end of the day when I’d finished delivering the seminar and had prepared for the next day.

07:48 – So now I have two modes of operating when dealing with e mail:

  • Mode 1 – When in the office, check for 30 minutes at 11.00 and 15.00.
  • Mode 2 – When delivering seminars, check for 40 minutes at the end of the day.

09:09 – I might need to develop other modes for example if I am travelling long distances either in the car or by train. What happens if I am in meetings?

09:42 – I realise that on the whole my work pattern is pretty predictable across the range of scenarios I will find myself in and so it should be easy to plan when I can check e mail in advance.

10:45 – It is important I block check e mails rather than allow them to be dealt with when they come in. This is because of the time lost through repeated context switching.

11:23 – I know this is not just a challenge I face. I have been working one on one with a number of coaching clients following my recent Power Of Focus Seminars. With each one, blocking out time for e mail has been a major step forward. The change has been simple and effective but because of their previous habits, they’ve not found it easy to shift.

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