It’s Monday morning and I’m scanning the week ahead so I’m clear what the key deliverables are. As I’m doing so I find myself tempted by one of the key dimensions of the ‘turning up’ syndrome discussed in my last post. The inbox.
Now this is not a new thought, for years now people have been lamenting the double edged sword that is email. But let’s be honest, it is probably the single biggest reason why people fail to get to the important strategic stuff in a typical office environment. Why? Because we’ve facilitated a business culture where email has higher priority than most other discretionary activity.
Walk in, say g’day, grab a coffee, then check your email. One hour later ….
The issue of course is not that there is nothing of strategic value in your’s or my inbox, its all the other stuff that gets mixed in. So the answer is unfortunately not as simple as ‘don’t look at it’, although some people advocate that you shouldn’t open your email until late afternoon.
For me, if there is discretionary use of any time in the morning I usually do (check it). The discipline is simply about not getting distracted. The only way this works for me is to have determined before I look at my inbox what the deliverables for the morning are. We’re talking about email, but the same can probably be said for Facebook, Twitter, online newspapers or any other ‘go to’ places.
This is related to the ‘turning up’ thing because if my daughter sits down to do home work and opens Facebook, or I go to work and open my inbox, I can think I’m ‘busy’, when I’m actually not doing anything productive in the bigger perspective.
So, this is not so much an anti-email post as a pro-stick to the deliverables one.
Everyone will navigate their own way through the managing e-distractions. Good luck defining your path.