Archives for posts with tag: workload

Emails are tough to manage aren’t they? You blink or go away for a couple of days and all of a sudden your inbox looks like a war-zone.

Are you an active email manager or a laissez-faire kind of a person? On the one hand you can spend a few extra moments sorting out every single email the first time you read it, deleting it or filing it, which aggregates to hundreds of hours. On the other, you file nothing, maybe delete nothing, safe in the knowledge that you can search for emails and do an emergency triage if your storage limit gets tripped.

I take a different approach to my work emails and my personal emails. With my work emails I leave everything in the inbox or sent items, searching for stuff when I need it and doing a periodic cull of large attachments to relieve storage and aid computer speed. I knew a colleague who was a very successful salesperson and religiously kept his work inbox down to a handful of emails, all the time. How he did it I’ll never know.

With my personal emails – and many of the emails I get are subscriptions to emails from businesses – I try to delete and file, keeping my inbox as clear as I can. Inevitably it mushrooms out of control and I have to spend a few hours every 6 months getting the inbox and sent items down to a reasonable level, deleting stuff I should have and filing other emails away into folders that I’ll rarely access.

The trouble is, the periods immediately preceding a seasonal wipe session are less than serene. Like now, for instance…

Always a good one this, to remind ourselves periodically. Not just for entrepreneurs or people that have their own business. For people who are employed, people who are volunteers too.

Are you working in the business or on the business?

Are you fire-fighting or planning?

Are you thinking long term or pre-occupied with the short term?

Are you stuck in the weeds or looking over the parapet?

Are you servicing the business you won without also looking to snare the next piece of business?

Working in the business means we’re simply getting by, doing what’s in front of us, addressing the tactical. Working on the business means we’ve an eye on the future, we’re looking at opportunities, we’re being strategic.

It’s the opposite of the golf shot. As Gary Player once said, ‘If you look up too early you might not like what you see.’ In our working and private lives, if we look up too late, well, you get the picture.

Working in or working on? Eventually, there’s no ‘in’ if you don’t do the ‘on’.

What I’m about to say – or more accurately what I’ve written that you’re about to read – is all relative. But, that said, there are some people who get through a lot.

I’m not necessarily talking about famous people who seem to present 3 series, write 2 books and produce a film in 1 year. For regular people too, the 99.9% of the population that we’ve never heard of, there are some people that seem to get a lot done. Not simply small things either, they get a lot of substantial projects out the door. Prolific, they call them.

What causes them to be so productive, so driven, apart from whatever natural ability they’re blessed with? Is it the fear of the void, the horror of the vacuum, the need to fill time and space? Are they not good at relaxing?

Probably it’s none of those. These people are the variety-seekers, the achievers, the starters and finishers. They’re the people who make things happen rather than have happen to them. They get stuff done, whether it’s work, personal projects or family-oriented events.

Whenever I meet one of them, I always think ‘must do more’. Really it’s about trying to take what they do, feed off their energy and channel it the right way for yourself, I think.