Following a holiday I experience that familiar energising feeling – it’s akin to a new year and inevitable resolutions fall out of it too.
I read recently about how the warming and slowing of the brain (like during a holiday or even a long hot shower) really does make it respond differently and generate new ideas. And so when when I returned from my holiday without the new ideas I was disappointed. Until I acknowledged that this August instead of the lightbulb moment there had been smaller and apparently less impactful realisations instead.
As a non-goals setting, non-long-term-planning commitment-phobe, I set about making a series of small action focussed plans for the coming weeks, months and years. These are partly personal, but all impact on the year ahead.
Struggling, like many, to fit everything in I realised I simply have to make a change to the email tyrant in my life. The popping up of new emails thwarts progress throughout the day. What I didn’t realise were the huge added benefits of restricting email checking to before work, after work and once during normal working hours.
- The freeing up of my time to focus. If I put an hour aside to write a report, I actually have a whole hour and the report gets done.
- Picking up the phone – I expect there will be some mishaps when people email me that day about a cancelled meeting and I won’t find out. But we’ll all just have to learn the hard way. Picking up the phone is a dying art and one I want everyone at YOP to do more of – so it should probably start with me.
- Being more present. This is almost one of the greatest benefits. When the team arrive in the morning I’m not in the middle of an email and when I am rushing to meetings, the meetings are more productive because I’m not distracted by that tricky email I shouldn’t have opened half way down London Street.
- Less email traffic for the team. In a tiny office we shouldn’t be emailing each other. Knowing that I won’t reply means they are more likely to find the answers themselves or come and talk to me. Great all round.
- Better quality of communication. Because I now focus time just on emails and probably on a desktop, the responses I make are better. It’s dedicated time to respond and with any luck by the time I’m responding the matter will have been dealt with already anyway.
I’m three weeks in, with the first week of September being the most challenging as the volume of email traffic climbs. But right now it feels it’s a very necessary ‘new year’ goal.