Read any good books lately? I’ve read like a ton (technical term). And I’m applying what I’m reading to my life and seeing some major changes. The books I’ve been reading are falling into the category of “making your life better, calmer and more enjoyable.” That’s a category, I promise. Three great books I would recommend reading immediately are:
- The Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris
- What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam
- The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma
I’m snagging the bits and pieces from each of these books that really speak to me and putting them into action. In an effort to get more organized, focused in my workday and maximize my time, I’ve created a list of 10 “Rules” that I’m implementing and they’re rocking my world. I’m breaking this post into 2 parts, because there is a lot here (come back next week for part 2). Of course, these are tailored to me personally, my profession and my individual situation. But a lot of them can be tweaked or applied to just about anyone and their work life. You may need to take a moment to open up your mind because a few of these are pretty radical and I want you to be prepared. Ready?
- Turn off all notifications on phone and computer. On my iPhone I control what notifications I get. So I turned them all OFF: E-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Games, Calendar notices, tasks. All the sounds and pop-ups are gone. Of course I can turn them back on if I change my mind but for now, not having those things dinging at me all the time, popping up, lighting up or buzzing, gives me a sense of calm. Also, a word about Instant Messaging: Instant messaging is THE biggest time waster EVER. Wanna turn a 3 minute conversation into 30 minutes? Hop on Instant Messaging. No thanks! I swore off instant messaging a while ago and I’ll never go back. It’s just a distraction and takes your focus off what you’re supposed to be doing.
- Stop answering the phone, turn off voice mail notifications. I don’t get tons of phone calls so it’s not a huge deal for me if I pick up the phone when it rings, but knowing that I don’t have to answer it is amazing. You can turn off your phone ringer too! Try it, it’s liberating!
- Planning for tomorrow. Each day at the end of the day, I spend 5 minutes selecting up to, BUT NO MORE THAN 5, of the most important items to complete the following day, within reason, from my giant to-do list of everything I can think of that needs to be done. When I say within reason, you can’t have Design New Web Site on your to-do list and then expect to get it done in one day. Break up larger projects into small increments. Never select more than 5 items. And they have to be the MOST IMPORTANT things, not something “easy” to check off the list. Those are for later!
- NEVER “check” email. Let me clarify: There is no point in “checking” my e-mail just to see if there are new email messages if I’m not going to act on them right then and there. It’s pure time wasting. Are you just trying to see if you’re cool? If someone loves you? Stop it!
- First thing in the morning, dive right into a project. I do not check my email or messages or social media first thing in the morning. GASP!!!!! Take a minute to let that sink in. I go to my daily to-do list and work uninterrupted on one item for AT LEAST one hour or until it is complete before reading e-mail, answering phone messages or checking social media. What happens when you read your e-mail or listen to your messages? Someone else’s priorities get in the way of yours. Answering someone else’s questions get in the way of making progress. You already decided what you need to work on – do that. Don’t let e-mails and messages derail your plans for the day.
How are you feeling after that? Do you think you could change the way you are doing this? Are you shocked? Appalled? Inspired?
I’ll get how I do handle e-mail, messages and social media as well as tackling the rest of the to-do list and challenging myself with time limits in part 2 of this post which will be out next week. Until then, have a great weekend!