In other words: Am I making something up for myself to avoid doing the important tasks?
With this powerful question:
– We can determine the importance of our tasks. Start progressing those that are most important. If we finish them, we can move to tasks with medium and low importance.
– We will know what is important and what is urgent.
– We won’t get lost in the sea of ad-hoc activities.
– We will focus on what matters.
– We will achieve better results.
– We will tackle our inbox load much easier and sort out what is important isn what isn’t. Try to create rules that allocates the incoming emails based on the senders’ details. For example creating a folder for your boss to have all incoming emails from him or her allocated, so you could instantly see if you received a mail from them instead of waiting for them to go to you in person to check something for them just because their email was lost in your inbox that have 50+ unread emails.
– We will be able to manage our time instead of others doing it for us.This technique to question our tasks makes our decision-making process much easier and faster. No matter what the challenges are, this is key at determining a tasks’ importance.
How to differentiate between busy and productive?
We evaluate if the task that we want to solve is something that adds value to the big picture of our career and current job.
For example working on process improvements. Trying to automatize our day-to-day activities is productive time spent.
Working on our own agenda that has the goals to spend our focus and time on such work, makes us being productive.
Replying to emails that are not serving our own goals means we are being busy. That is why that time spent is less important. Maybe it has to be done, but in this case, we are not productive. Look at it as the necessary evil. We should limit our time spent on checking emails to only couple of hours a day. Try to schedule one hour of email time in your calendar to the morning and the afternoon. Only check email at those exact periods.
If you are getting a lot of emails and it is your job to reply to those, yes it’s important to do it, but don’t loose sight on the bigger picture solutions that could solve the problem of receiving too many emails in the first place.
If you receive a ton of emails, try to work on reducing their count and examine why are you receiving them. After some research you might ask: is there a possibility to cut down the email count by creating a communication to my key stakeholders to only send emails to me if …?