15 Could Get You 45

Today, more than ever there are so many ways to “spend your time.” Both professionally and personally, you can do just about anything at any hour of the day. Technology allows us to purchase a gift from the comfort of our couch, order movie tickets, plan a vacation, order a pizza or check the inventory and bin location of an item at the local big box hardware store before wasting time driving there, only to find they don’t have the item in stock.

Quite simply put, technology has enabled us to save time. Or has it?

With technology making our lives easier you would think that we would hear more about how people have more time to get it all done, yet we don’t hear that.

Picture1According to a survey conducted by McKinsey Global Institute and International Data Corp., email is the second-most time-consuming activity for workers, next to “role-specific tasks.” The report didn’t outline the number of emails each person processed per day; however, a report from the Radicati Group in 2012 found that the average corporate email user sent and received about 100 emails a day.

Just today, someone said to me that they were about 2-3 days behind on email and they went on to say they felt they would never get “caught up.” Someone else sent me an email with a time-sensitive question as if to assume that I am constantly checking new mail as it comes in. I’m not.

Email is basically an inbox for everyone else’s agenda.

blog-1520Some time ago, I heard someone state, “Email is basically an inbox for everyone else’s agenda.” I found that to be a profound statement. It made me wonder why I would want to spend so much time on everyone else’s agenda when I constantly strive to be more productive and achieve my own goals.

Just Don’t Do It

So, instead of spending so much time in email every morning making sure the never-ending inbox is “clean” I don’t open my inbox. The first thing I do every morning is take 15 minutes and look at my calendar for the day. I make a list of things that must be done, understand where I need to be and when, and what I need to do to be prepared to deliver on deadlines and ensure I have scheduled time to get these tasks done.

15 Could Get You 45

On average, I have found that by simply not spending so much time in email as soon as I get to work, I save about 45 minutes each morning and I am better prepared for the day ahead. I check email later in the morning, once or twice throughout the day and before I leave to head home for the day. I scrutinize the time I spend in email and if it takes longer than a couple of minutes to respond to an email, I go talk to that person or call them.

One size doesn’t fit all

You may be reading this and thinking, sure, in theory that might work for you but not in my case. You may be right. Not everyone may benefit from stepping out of email. I challenge you to take a step out and dedicate time outside of your inbox each day, first thing. You’ll be surprised at how much closer you’ll get to your goals when you are not driven by someone else’s agenda.

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