You've Got Mail (Every Four Minutes)
As we fall head-long into the fourth quarter, I am in awe at how quickly the time passes, how easy it is to squander and impossible to get back, and how important it is to utilize it to its fullest. I was reminded of this in a discussion I had with Lisa Leitch the other day. I was talking about an impending deadline when she made one simple suggestion. "Turn off your email notifications," she said. I did it. It was something that had been irking me for ages, pulling my focus to what normally amounted to junk mail and ruined my writing mojo. (All you writers out there know what that is.)
I was absolutely amazed at how quickly and effectively I worked that afternoon. The story was written and my stress level over getting it done completely diminished. At the end of the day, I had forgotten I had turned off my friend the notifier and thought, "Oh my, I didn't get any emails, there must be something wrong." I hit my email icon and there they were a slew of emails, 80 percent were junk and the other 20 percent were nothing urgent. I dedicated some time to responding to the emails that needed attention and left work that day feeling relaxed in the knowledge that I had accomplished my goals for that day.
In my next conversation with Lisa, with a couple of quick calculations we figured I was being interrupted by my email notifier every four minutes. It was a real revelation. Not only did I realize how much time I lost at work to that little bugger, but it came to me how easy it is to simply let time slip right through your fingers because of small nuisances. Maintaining focus, whether it be on tasks in the office or at dinner with your spouse and kids is not easy with the laundry list of "to dos" in your head. Add in all the flashing lights and bells from your electronic devices and it is nearly impossible.