There’s a tendency to try to cram as many things as possible into the smallest amount of time. I’m extra guilty of this. However, I am trying to be more cognoscente of how this affects my family, friends and work.
There are several recommended ways to get a handle on this: set time limits and stick to them, use timers. I’ve never successfully implemented these. Probably because these aren’t real deadlines. There are not consequences for not sticking to these limits. So I knew there had to be other solutions.
A smarter person than I, suggested I review my time suckers. E-mail is at the top of my list. Instead of just typing out a quick e-mail with a single question, I could set a piece of paper next to my desk and write down all the questions I have for each person as they come up during the day. When I have five items, then I could send an e-mail or schedule a time to chat instead. Doing that could save me from sending five emails. Brilliant! Instead of wading through five e-mails with five different (and usually related) questions, I can save at least a minute in just the opening of these e-mails.
I also must learn to accept that not everything is urgent. A quick fix can be good enough to buy you enough time to do your best work. The flip side of that is you could realize that the quick fix is already good enough and move on. We are all perfectionists who want to help right away and sometimes just letting that go can save you a ton of time and energy.
What are your time suckers? How do you tame them?