Leap Year Lesson #343: Pay Yourself First

Posted: December 9, 2012 in Time Management
Tags: , , ,

Bad EmailI read a brief article last weekend by Jeremiah Owyang that led me to try something new at work this past week.  The article was called “Pay Yourself First” and it dealt with being more intentional about getting your to-do list items done early in the day instead of allowing others to impose their to-do list on you.  Specifically, it suggested not opening your email at the start of the work day.  As someone has noted, email is a to-do list created for you by someone else.  It is a reactive medium that has the unintended consequence of producing more email for you the more you respond to others.

Instead, Owyang suggests doing something of significance to start your day where you can focus and get it done without the distraction of emails tapping on your shoulder for attention.  So that’s what I did Monday through Thursday this week.  (Friday was an all-day team meeting that demanded a different schedule.)  I didn’t open my email until mid-morning for four days except to find a conference call number for one call on Thursday.

How did it work out?  I got more backlogged things marked off of my to-do list this week than I have in the past month.  I also worked more hours than normal putting in some evening time to finally knock off those accumulating emails.  Still, the bottom line is that I got more done this week and I feel good about it.

For several months I have blocked out my mornings at work on my calendar to discourage people from scheduling morning meetings, thus allowing me to focus on getting my to-do list items done instead of theirs.  Now I think I’ve found an additional thing I can do in the first half of those morning hours to help me accomplish even more.  I plan to continue keeping my work email closed until about 10:00 a.m., concentrating on my important daily tasks and on tackling some backlogged but significant need that has been delayed far too long.

You might think about giving it a try for a week.  I promise the world won’t end.

Leap year lesson #343 is Pay yourself first.

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