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Archive for August, 2012

Don’t Check Your Email for the First Hour. Total Waste of Time

Reading e-mails first thing in the morning is not productive. If something urgently needs you, they will call or text me.

Not all of us can roll into the office whenever we happen to get there, but most of us with jobs that don’t require constant on-call awareness can trade e-mail for organization and single-focus work.

If you need to make sure the most important messages from select people come through instantly, AwayFind can monitor your inbox and get your attention when something notable arrives. Otherwise, it’s a gradual but rewarding process of training interruptors and coworkers not to expect instantaneous morning response to anything they send in your off-hours.

Gain Awareness, Be Grateful

Set up an “Hour of Power,” “30 Minutes to Thrive,” or at least “Fifteen Minutes to Fulfillment.”
Part of it involves light exercise, part of it involves motivational incantations, but the most accessible piece involves 10 minutes of thinking of everything you’re grateful for: in yourself, among your family and friends, in your career, and the like. After that, visualize “everything you want in your life as if you had it today.”

Get your Free “Hour of Power” audio stream.

Do the Big, Shoulder-Sagging Stuff First

Mark Twain said that, if you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, you’ve got it behind you for the rest of the day, and nothing else looks so bad. Combine that with the concept of getting one thing done before you wade into email, and you’ve got a day-to-day system in place. Here’s how to force yourself to stick to it:

Choose Your Frog

“Choose your frog, and write it down on a piece of paper that you’ll see when you arrive back at your desk in the morning. “If you can, gather together the material you’ll need to get it done and have that out, too.”

One benefit to tackling that terrible, weighty thing you don’t want to do first thing in the morning is that you get some space from the other people involved in that thing–the people who often make the thing more complicated and frustrating. Without their literal or figurative eyes over your shoulder, the terrible thing often feels less complex, and you can get more done.

Ask Yourself If You’re Doing What You Want to Do

Feeling unfulfilled at work shouldn’t be something you realize months too late, or even years. Consider making an earnest attempt every morning to ask yourself:

“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

“Customer Service” (or Your Own Equivalent)

Your own version of customer service might be keeping in touch with contacts from year-ago projects, checking in with coworkers you don’t regularly interact with, asking questions of mentors, and just generally handling the human side of work that quickly gets lost between task list items. Do your customer service on the regular, and you’ll have a more reliable roster of helpers when the time comes.

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