My mantra today:
I will dictate my day.
My email and the internet will not dictate my day.
Tired of constantly being pulled off track by email and that "just one second to google the answer" lure of the internet? I sure am.
This morning I read an article in July 2008's Real Simple that was so meaningful I tore it out to review whenever I begin to feel overwhelmed. In the article, they noted that a 2004 study found that interruptions at work happen an average of every three minutes. What is more alarming is that the study also showed it takes about 23 minutes to get back on track.
With the articles sage advice occupying front-of-mind, I arrived at work today with a three-stage battle plan against technology.
- Step 1: I will only check and respond to email on my work account from 7:30-8 am, 10-10:30 am, 2-2:30 pm and 4-4:30 pm. I have my email application up and running, with my complete focus on it during those appointed times. Outside of those four blocks, the application is closed. To help me remember this, I've posted a bright yellow sticky next to my computer monitor clock that says: "7:30-8; 10-10:30; 2-2:30; 4-4:30 = EMAIL OK"
- Step 2: I will only bring up the internet for personal-related searches from noon-1 pm. If a thought springs to mind of something I need to look up or do, I will jot it down for later.
- Step 3: I will only do work-related internet searches three times a day, with a maximum of 10 minutes per search, unless otherwise directed to do an extensive dig. I'm making this into a game of sorts. Find the current office market vacancy rates for all major markets nationwide in less than 10 minutes: BOOM. (The last bit is an homage to Steve Jobs, master of the boom as well as fantastic design.)
Result: SUCCESS! I finally finished editing a paper that had been shoved aside for three straight days because of interruptions.
Now if I could only find a way to cut down on other distractions...