Today’s question/issue is:
I get easily sidetracked. I’ll be working on a project and an e-mail will come in that requires me to put out a fire immediately, which means I lose my momentum and have a lot of trouble getting it back. Any advice?
I’ll answer below and in this video:
Give us your answer in the comments and tell us what work/life balance questions you struggle with and I’ll answer them in future videos. Here goes…
Here’s the short answer: Keep your head down and e-mail off when you are working on the project at hand. Period.
Here’s the longer answer:
1) Don’t play e-mail peek-a-boo: My pal, Luke Mysse wrote this brilliant piece of advice in his post of the same name. The bottom line is, open e-mail when you have time to read emails once and respond.
2) Tough love alert: Luke also wants to know why you are checking e-mail? Is it because you are addicted to that constant flow of messages (most of which is spam anyway)? Do you get a hit off of it or do you really need to be checking?
3) You are a freelancer, not a fireman: Your client’s crisis is not your emergency. And it is very unlikely that your gig is (literally) saving lives, though you may be making terrific contributions to the world.
4) Multitasking is a myth: Deep concentration is required for us to stay focused, learn and create. If you allow interruptions, studies report that it takes 20 minutes to get back into that effective state of concentration. Can you really afford that?
Lifehacker did a great interview on this topic with Dave Crenshaw, who wrote The Myth of Multitasking: How “Doing It All” Gets Nothing Done.
How ’bout you? Do you check your e-mail while you are in the middle of something? Get sidetracked easily? Fess up in the comments or suggest your own interruption-free or firefighting tip.
Learn how to go from self-starter to self-finisher and find cool tools to grow your business on my site.
Listen to BTW: [audio:http://iliseb.audioacrobat.com/download/729f6e06-f65c-9c2b-7aba-a6eb629d89df.mp3]