Research and statistics are hard to ignore. E-mail usage is on the rise and so is the work load of the average American worker. E-mail has become one of those tools we can’t seem to live without yet it’s a main contributor to lower productivity in our work environments.
Does this scenario sound familiar? You begin a project mid-morning, only to be interrupted by e-mail and others for the remainder of the day. 5 o’clock comes and you feel as if you haven’t gotten anything done except respond to e-mail and others. That’s when you feel you have no choice but to take the project home with you where you can finish it without the interruptions the office brings.
As I coach sales people, executives and others, I strongly suggest creating what I’ve dubbed the Power Hour. It’s the first hour of your day before all the interruptions, E-mail and phone calls start in.
- Before leaving your office today, review your calendar for tomorrow. Read through each appointment, making a mental note of what is required of each meeting.
- Next, review the items on tomorrow’s To Do List. This may be checking your Microsoft Outlook Task List or a paper To Do List. .
- Now choose one item that requires the most time, energy and focus you’ve got to offer. You might need to write an article, create a budget report or fill out an employee’s annual performance review. Regardless of the task, choose something that is important and needs your undivided attention.
- Tomorrow when you come into your office, do NOT look at your E-mail. Don’t even turn on your E-mail program. In other words, do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.
- Instead, focus on that project you picked out the afternoon before. And work on it for an entire hour.
- Avoid all interruptions. Let your phone go to voicemail. If you have a door on your office, shut it. If you work in a cubicle, hang something to signify to others that their interruptions will have to wait. Yellow “caution” tape is a fun way to communicate this.
- Re-train employees and co-workers of your new Power Hour practice. And don’t be surprised when they begin implementing their own Power Hours as they see your productivity increasing.
The Power Hour involves creating a few new habits in the way we get our work done as well as retraining those around us. When starting out, aim for a Power Hour at least two days a week. You will quickly see its value and begin scheduling your appointments around it.
Implementing the Power Hour (or the Organized Audrey Hour as some have dubbed it) will provide a way for you to experience better time management, be more organized and accomplish something in a fraction of the time that may have taken 2+ hours if left for later in the day.