Have you ever had one of those days where you realize that you’ve spent your ENTIRE day in meetings and responding to e-mail?
Days where you feel like all you’ve accomplished is talking about what you’re going to do, without any actual doing?
As you wind up your day, you realize that you haven’t moved the needle forward on ANY of your bigger projects that actually needed to get done?
How can we change the world when our days are filled with meetings and e-mail?
At least, that’s the question that comes to my mind on days like this.
When we’re not particularly intentional about where we’re spending our time, it becomes easy to simply respond to whatever comes in. A request for an “urgent” meeting pops up. You know the kind – the one to address an issue that came up weeks ago, but no one prioritized until now. And so, we fit it into our schedule. Because, you know… it’s urgent.
E-mails come in that absolutely “need” to be addressed. Whether or not they’re related to today’s tasks. But you know, if someone e-mails you, it means you need to reply right away. Doesn’t it?
We end up letting our inbox and incoming requests structure our day rather than choosing how to structure them.
In times where we’re feeling more stressed, or when demands are high, it’s easier to step into these types of reactive patterns.
I know firsthand how frustrating this can be. And how much it can hold you back from what you want to accomplish in this world.
I too can get caught up in forgetting where my true priorities lie. Or in not communicating this well to others.
The key is to notice it.
The minute that you notice that your schedule is getting tied up in less meaningful, productive tasks, make a commitment to yourself that you will be more intentional in my choices of where you will invest your time. Make a commitment to put your focus wherever it truly needs to be.
We can shift these patterns.
We can and we need to. Because, at the end of the day, if we let our calendars become fully booked all the time, our most important tasks will never get our full attention.
One simple tip that so many struggle to implement consistently is to plan your schedule at the beginning of the week. Or better yet, at the end of the previous week. Before you book anything else into your agenda, schedule in blocks of time to focus on your priority projects.
And then keep this commitment to yourself.
It’s as simple as that.
You will, of course, need to leave space for some meetings and e-mail replies. But if you prioritize booking in time for your top priorities, it will become easier to determine which meetings and e-mails truly need your attention, amongst the time you have remaining.
Through a process of natural selection, less important tasks will fall to the wayside. Which is perfect, since they are truly lower priority anyhow.
Instead of filling your time with less important tasks because they happen to be the next thing coming in on your agenda, shift your focus to your priority tasks first. Then use any remaining time to move your less important priorities forward.
Try implementing this one, simple task and you’ll find that you are your team members will end up being able to accomplish a lot more without having to add any extra hours to your work day.
If you liked this post, you might also like: