Opening your email and voicemail the first thing every day, is liking putting on a straitjacket and spending the first few hours of every day trying to escape from it.

Hyper-responsiveness creates a false sense of accomplishment. Just because you get back to someone within minutes on an issue they would have waited hours for a response on, does not make you more productive or even more appreciated. It just makes you wasteful of the most valuable thing you have to spend- your time.

If you want to get out of the straitjacket faster, don’t escape. It is faster to not get into it in the first place. Let me remind you of some ideas you know, but are not following:

  1. Do not open email until 10 a.m. at the earliest and work your way up to waiting until noon.
  2. Only listen to voicemails on even hours of the day.
  3. Plan your day for at least 5 hours of self-scheduled, self-directed work. The remainder of the available time is for work driven in response to others requests.

If you are not following these simple rules, then you are sitting around every morning without a plan and waiting to be told what to do. If you don’t like that idea, change your plan and your habits.

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