Email—You Are on the Clock!
If you have ever heard me speak in person or read my Green Time Management Workbook for college coaches, you have heard me talk about how you should work like you are going on vacation tomorrow. The reason: you will get a lot more done in a day with this added sense of urgency.
Most people work better under a little pressure, and a self-imposed deadline can provide the pressure you need to keep at your task until it is completed.
One way to create this urgency is to set time deadlines for getting work done. In this email, I want to specifically talk about setting time deadlines for doing all of your emails.
A big mistake I see people make a lot is that they tend to put together an ambitious plan of emails to send out each day, but with no regard to the time. If you just sit down like most people do and don’t set a time limit to get your emails done, you will run far over the time you expected to commit to it, and as a result it will destroy your productivity plans and the rest of your workday.
Can you relate?
Timothy Ferriss, in “The 4-Hour Workweek” introduces a concept called Parkinson’s Law. Parkinson’s Law dictates that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
So for you, I am saying that you should set shorter deadlines and you’ll get a heck of a lot more done than you are right now.
For example, if you don’t give yourself a deadline to get your emails done, it is a good possibility that it will take you all day to get them done. If you give yourself 60 minutes to write an email, Parkinson’s Law says that it will take 60 minutes. And if you give yourself 45 minutes, magically the email will get done in 45 minutes.
A simple way to do this is to go and buy some sort of timer that you can have on your desk. Set it for however long you are giving yourself to finish an email. Set the time and get after it.
Setting a deadline for how long you allow yourself to do emails and/or for how long you allow yourself to do each email is the secret to getting all of your emails done today. These deadlines you set for yourself will keep you on track. Otherwise your to-do list will suffer the same fate as most corporate meetings. You'll run far over the time you expected to commit to it, and it will destroy your productivity plans and the rest of your workday.
By incorporating deadlines for everything you do in the office each day, especially with emails, you’ll find yourself getting more done and ending the day with less of the stress associated with hitting quitting time and still having a to-do list that is a mile long.
Add it to your planning today and reap the benefits tomorrow.