‘Busy, busy, busy, I’m just so busy.’ is all people seem to say lately when asked how they are. ‘I’m so busy, I’m so stressed!’ is something I hear often. It’s interesting asking people for their definition of ‘busy’, and what they are so ‘busy’ doing. Ask the next person who tells you how busy they are, what exactly it is that’s taking all of their time? If they answer ‘work’, then ask them to chunk it down even more and get specific.
Leaders will often tell you how much they have ‘on’. They are so consumed with how much they have ‘on’ their peripheral vision becomes not existent and they are solely focused on themselves. Leaders are busy, and they should be busy doing all of the things that are going to make the biggest difference to their business. Leaders need to be highly skilled circus entertainers with an innate ability to juggle, balance and engage, all at the same time!
A MASSIVE catalyst to people thinking they are busy, is their inbox. Emails are such a great communication and business tool, however are also a fantastic distraction. In this era of smart phones & Wi-Fi, we have become so reliant on emails that we are now addicted. People love to tell you how many emails they get in a day, and it seems the higher the number, the greater the social status. It’s a classic! My response is ‘I really don’t care!’
The email epidemic is here to stay until some technological wiz comes up with something to replace it, so you might as well learn to manage your emails to your advantage.
To turn this around and to increase your productivity, focus, execution and business growth, you need to implement a strategy to control your emails. Here are three suggestions for you:
- Turn your email notification off. You do not need to be notified of an incoming email. It’s a distraction you do not need. You have plenty of others!
- Allocate time to do your emails. Schedule time blocks to attend to emails, it may be for an hour, 2 hours apart. You do not need to be glued to your email account.
- Tell people when you will get back to them. Continual rapid response to emails is creating a precedent with your clients and those you are in email contact with. Establish and email protocol and advise people what this is. It may be a 24-hour turn around or whatever suits your business. The quicker you respond, the more available you are so you might as well have people knocking on your door. It is creating the same effect. Educate your virtual contacts!
I have implemented these strategies with various clients of mine with great success. It’s a challenge at first, as we are in a bad habit of email addiction so we need to wean ourselves from this addiction. But without fail, my clients have advised me these strategies work and reduced the amount of distractions. It has also changed their perception from emails being one of the most urgent and important things to them complimenting strategies for business growth. A nice turnaround don’t you think?
Don’t fall victim to ‘too busy by email’! It’s not a sustainable business growth strategy and soon, you may find yourself not so busy.