Right now summer is winding down and fall is settling in. It’s my all-time favorite season and I am so grateful it isn’t winter yet. Today I’d like to discuss rabbit trails, which are typically only noticeable during winter. Have you ever noticed that they appear random and scattered? I would go so far as to classify them as very disorganized. They never seem to lead anywhere.
Regardless of the season, we have rabbit trails in the office. They are typically web-based. It usually starts with a link from within an email. It may read something like this: “I thought you’d enjoy this article I just read on LinkedIn.” So innocent looking. Right?
So you click on the link and enjoy the article. But before returning to your work, you notice a few flags indicating you’ve got messages and notifications. So you click on these, congratulate someone on their recent work anniversary, read another person’s profile, taking note of a company you are unfamiliar with which leads you to do a search on it…and before you know it, 20 minutes have passed by and you can’t remember what you were originally working on. Sound familiar?
In my email management workshop, I ask participants to identify the rabbit trails they catch themselves going down during a typical day. Here are the ones that get the most mentions:
• Vacation Rentals
• Wedding websites – checking to see who has rsvp’d for their upcoming nuptials
• News websites such as MSNBC and Yahoo News
Rabbit trails might be fun while we’re on them, but they almost always steal a sense of direction we may have had in getting important projects accomplished.
So be aware of the trails that may frequently draw you in. The ones that you know cause you to get lost on your way to having a productive day.
Safe travels on the trails!