Do you enjoy your work? Whether you are in business for yourself, or an employee for someone else, you should enjoy what you are doingevery day, for your well being and that of those around you. Yes, this blog is about helping people start a part-time home business to improve the quality of their lives, but even if you’ve determined that isn’t for you, you should strive to ensure you love what you are doing.
I am currently reading Brendan Burchard’s The Charge: Activating the 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive, and I was amazed by a point he made in his discussion of the first drive. He states that less than 20 percent of workers worldwide say they are actively engaged and enjoying their work. This statistic staggered me. I am blessed to have a full time job I love, and a part time home business my wife and I share that I love even more. But I can still remember my previous job, before I learned about the home-based business industry, when I dreaded going to work each day. That was a low point in my career, that had nasty effects on several aspects of my life, but that’s a story for another post on the importance of enjoying what you do.
I don’t want to spoil The Charge for you (and I strongly recommend picking up a copy and reading it ASAP), so I am only going to cover one contributor to this worldwide disgruntlement here, which is email. If you’ve read any time management books, such as First Things First from the late Stephen Covey, or been to any time management classes, you’ve undoubtedly already heard the recommendation to disable email notifications on your mail client and mobile devices and only check your email and pre-scheduled times throughout the day. We’ve gotten a bit ridiculous about email these days, assuming that an email sent equates to an email processed. The corporation I work for sent all of us to a multi-day time management training class (a huge expense) focused specifically on how to use our mail client more efficiently, and we spent an entire day configuring it to prevent interruptions during the productive times during our day. Yet the majority of my co-workers, including management, still work under the expectation that sending an email to me means I have processed it within an hour or so. Shame on us!
I have four recommendations about your handling of email to make you more effective and your work life more enjoyable:
- Make it clear in the people that you deal with at work, that if they have something that needs to be processed critically, they need to confirm receipt, typically via a phone call during which they speak with me. While that, too, is an interruption, some of us do have to deal with time-sensitive issues to be successful in our work, and I find this causes people to redefine what is really “critical.”
- I like to make a conscious effort to process email in a FIFO (first in, first out) order, as this avoids setting a precedent of immediate response if I pop into my email during my scheduled time slot and answer emails received within the past few minutes (I receive a LOT of emails!).
- My final recommendation, as implied already, is to schedule email processing time slots in your day. It goes without saying that you want to have your day’s agenda in order before you open your inbox for the first time each day. I like to work through lunch, so I find this is a good time to hit it again, and then at the end of the day to read/respond to remaining items and identify items that need to be priorities for tomorrow.
- I like to leave my inbox empty at the end of the day, but even if that isn’t possible for you, just these simple steps will make it much more manageable.
I hope you enjoyed today’s discussion. I am certain that following these recommendations will improve your time management, reduce stress, and increase your enjoyment at work.
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