Posted by: bevmeldrum | September 6, 2007

Taking My Own Advice – Don’t Work To Other People’s Agenda

I made a very silly mistake yesterday that ended up in me having a very frustrating and unproductive day.

What did I do? The first thing I did when I sat down at my desk in the morning was to check my email. No. No. No.

One of the things I always tell my clients is to never check their email first thing. If the first thing you do is to open your email you are bombared with what everyone wants from you and you will spend the day working to everyone else’s agenda.

Just because one of your associates needs a particular piece of information and asks for it immediately does not mean that this the most important thing YOU need to do today. Unless they have put a time deadline on their request will it really matter if you respond at 11am rather than 9am, after you have done the most important things on your agenda?

Instead, by not opening your email first thing you have the opportunity to decide what are the most important things that you need to do today – what are your priorities. And, you can decide when during the day would it be most convinient for you to sit down and read your emails. Then you can respond to what everyone else is asking of you knowing that you have already got a lot done.

I really wish I had taken my own advice yesterday. Instead what I saw when I opened my email were customers, colleagues, my accountant, associates all wanting things from me. I got distracted and I spent the whole day responding to other people’s priorities.

At the end of the day I felt frustrated and as if I had not achieved anything. And the result of this is that I didn’t schedule time to write a blog post – I allowed what everyone else wanted me to do to take control of my day, so I didn’t deliver on my own commitments.

This morning is different – I haven’t opened my email yet and already I feel I have got more done this morning than I did the whole of yesterday.

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