by Mandy Green, Busy Coach
The late Steven Covey, who wrote the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, has done a lot of research on your work mindset. He says that most people have one of 2 mindsets when it comes to dealing with work: urgency or importance. Whether you’re operating from a mindset of urgency or a mindset of importance, it will profoundly affect your coaching life.
When you react to the urgent-you tend to stop what you are doing to do the things that are right in front of us and seem to “need” our immediate attention.
Or you can act on the important-which means you take the proactive initiative to determine what the right things are and to take action on them.
I know for me that when I get sucked into the urgency mindset when I am in the office, I tend to keep my inbox open and my phone is on and as I get work done, it seems that my brain is just hovering, waiting. The email chimes, the phone rings, or a text message beeps. There’s something new! Somebody wants me! I’ve got to respond!
You get a dopamine hit, right, and in time you become dependent on the rush and excitement. Like Pavlov’s famous dogs that were conditioned to salivate at the sound of a bell, we, too have been conditioned. Can you relate coach?
And if you’re like most coaches you get a dozen of these little interruptions every hour—do the math, you literally can’t focus on one thing for more than 5 minutes.
There is just no way to get significant work done that will move your program forward when you can only focus for short spurts.
My tip today for getting out of the urgency mindset is to close your inbox and don’t use it as your to-do list.
These are the 4 things that I find happened when you keep your email open all day
- You are letting somebody else dictate your priorities. I’ve heard it said a lot that the email inbox is just an organizing system for other people’s agenda.
- Basically, somebody else can control your day just by sending you a bunch of emails.
- As you are checking your to-do list (your inbox), other messages come in to demand your attention, and you’re always distracted.
- Your inbox organizes your emails in chronological order making it virtually impossible to have a prioritized to-do list.
The key to true productivity is not to get a lot of other people’s requests done, but to get the right things done—the important things.
You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage-pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically—to say no to other things.
I don’t know that it is possible to do this all day, but find a few blocks of time where all you do is work on your important stuff. You might find this hard at first. I did. At the time, I just couldn’t quite get ahead in anything I was doing and felt busy all the time. It wasn’t until I changed my mindset, turned off my email for parts of the day, and spent larger chunks of time working on important things that I really was able to make significant progress on turning the program I am at around. Try it. Then email me and let me know how it goes, firstname.lastname@example.org.