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The Effective Life - How to Create More Success, Freedom, and Happiness in the Age of Distraction
Work finished at the same time and we were "off line" until we walked through the front doors the next morning.
A lot has changed since then.
You are connected 24/7, breathlessly battling a barrage of emails, texts, blog posts, Facebook updates, and voice mail.
It's the Age of Distraction and it's here to stay.
In the Age of Distraction the lines between the desk and the kitchen sink were blurred a long time ago.
In fact, the average smartphone owner now works 70 minutes longer and email gobbles up 28% of our day.
Even on vacation, 50% of us are checking emails from work.
The solution is to stop trying to be efficient and to start being effective.
The "efficient" worker returns voice, text, and email messages constantly, including while on the phone, in meetings, and trips to the bathroom.
The effective worker returns messages in chunks of concentrated time.
The rest of the time they ignore them.
The efficient worker dedicates hours every week to moving emails into tidy folders to better organize them.
The effective worked just deletes them.
Efficiency is about doing more in the same amount of time.
Being effective means deciding if it needs to be done in the first place.
Efficiency is still valuable (I like shortcut keys that let me compose articles like this one faster).
But a goal for efficiency shouldn't come at a cost of being effective.
The following are my best strategies for leading an effective life and getting done what needs to be done (and nothing more).
Use these as a checklist of what's possible (and then invent your own): 1.
WORK FROM GOALS YOU ARE EXCITED ABOUT.
The motivation for all change starts with a motivating goal.
Whether you work for the man or own your own shop, you have to have a goal you dream about.
The same goes for your personal life.
Ask anyone that signed up for a first ½ marathon, or committed to put a kid through college - the goal changes everything.
FORGIVE AND MOVE ON.
Life's too short and they've forgotten anyway, so you might as well forgive and move on.
The best advice I ever received was that the fastest way to change someone is for me to go first.
Tired of the frustration? Then take the first step.
FRIDAY 15 REVIEW.
This is a routine I wish I had years ago.
Block 15 minutes every Friday to review your week past and launch the one coming.
Ask three power questions: what worked/didn't last week, what needs to happen, and what do I need to commit to? 4.
BE HERE, NOW.
Multi-tasking is a fool's errand that inevitably leads to more stress, bigger goofups, and annoying the person you are talking to.
The winning formula is one project, one person, one conversation, and one minute at a time.
Remember, in the end, Turtle wins the race.
SAY "NO" AS OFTEN AS "YES".
Question: what's the difference between a typical Friday and the day before vacation? Answer: the day before vacation you say "No" more often.
We all need a bit of positive urgency in our day and a drive for results.
Time-sucking meetings and pointless emails are just a test of our resolve and to be avoided at any cost.
DE-CLUTTER YOUR LIFE.
If it's unfinished you will think about it and waste time and energy.
Why do we like nice hotel rooms so much? Answer: no clutter.
Fix that broken light switch, wipe down your desk, and empty your email InBox.
Treat yourself to an uncluttered mind - it's like a vacation, at home.
BLOCK TIME AND SINGLE TASK.
You would respect a client appointment, yet you can't find the time to get you projects back on track.
The solution is to create appointments - with your self.
Plan these on Friday for the following week and treat them as nonnegotiable (moving is allowed, but not deleting).
TAKE CARE OF YOU, FIRST.
Like Mark Twain once quipped, "Just because something is called common sense doesn't mean it's all that common.
" The same applies for you taking care of you.
Every audience I'm with tells me they want more time for themselves.
Take lots of breaks, drink more water than you think you need, and have down time every day.
You car can't run without maintenance - neither can you.