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Get More Done At Work, Have More Time For Life

Posted on July 28, 2006 by Sarah Eaton.

A review of Never Check Email in the Morning

Are you a complete mess at the office?  Do you find you’re returning calls a week after getting a voice mail?  Then Never Check Email in the Morning is the book for you. 

It’s also the book for you if you only occasionally feel overwhelmed or disorganized.

Of course, I was attracted to the book by the sensational title.  When I suggested it for review, one of my colleagues said it sounded like a good idea, but that, seriously, I have to check email in the morning.  I agreed then, and after having read the book, I still agree.

Having said that, there are many takeaways people can apply to amp up their productivity—and with that, their work-life satisfaction.  Julie Morgenstern, “Oprah’s favorite organizing expert,” imparts a number of suggestions gleaned from her work with clients.

My time-saving gift for you: I have separated the suggestions into two categories: useful and really hard to accomplish.

Useful tips:

  • You’ve heard it before, but have you taken it to heart yet?  Stop multi-tasking.  It just scatters your ability to focus, and it takes you longer to get things done than if you concentrate solely on the task at hand.
  • How many steps from the revenue line is each item on your to-do list?  Complete the items that will have the largest impact on the bottom line first.
  • To minimize interruptions, rehearse some catchphrases to get you temporarily off the hook, like “I’m working on a deadline right now.  I’ll get back to you this afternoon.”  (That means you really do have to get back to the interrupt-er that afternoon, by the way, otherwise he’ll never believe you and just plough ahead the next time you use your line.)
  • Do stuff right away.  Are you returning from a sales call with a small tower of business cards?  Don’t stack them behind your computer monitor; enter them in Outlook immediately. 
  • If an employee shoddily completes work you delegated to her, don’t correct it yourself.  Send it back for corrections.  Delegation is about other people completing tasks.

Tips that require a major shift in thinking:

  • Never check email in the morning.  Okay, I would just die if I couldn’t check my email in the morning: Not everyone I work with is in my time zone, as is the case with most people in this crazy, electronic world.  Things happen when I am not in the office, things that could change my morning’s plans. 
  • Morgenstern suggests a whole list of ways you can minimize time spent in meetings, but most of the suggestions require being a pest: Question the length of the meeting; ask if you really have to be there; see if you can send your assistant instead; make everyone in the meeting stand the whole time, etc.
  • The last chapter is called “Work Well With Others.”  To do so, you need to be accessible, reliable, adaptable, respectful, clear and fair.  If you have trouble with any one of these issues, it’s going to take more than a few actions points to turn you around.  You will need to completely re-think the way you interact with people.   

Tip I’m trying out:

  • Quiet hour: Many of my responsibilities require complete silence and concentration, but many others require interaction with people on my team.  Every day from two o’clock to three o’clock next week will be “quiet hour” at BeTuitive, so everyone gets a chance to focus.  I’ll let you know how it works out in a blog post.

Everyone has difficulties with some aspect of his work life, and honestly, Morgenstern touches on most of those troubles in her book.  If you’re a procrastinator, she can help you out.  Ditto if you’re a perfectionist, your office is disorganized or you take on too much work. 

Not every chapter applies to every person, and not every challenge is discussed in the depth you might need or want.  But, the book does a great job of identifying and illustrating common work concerns and helping the reader pinpoint his own problems.   

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July 28, 2006 in award winning blog, award winning newsletter, Award winning publications, blog publish, Blogging Tools, Blogs, Brand enhancement, build credibility, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Intuition, business credibility, Business relationships, CMO, company newsletter, company newsletter sample, corporate magazine, Corporate newsletter, create a newsletter | Permalink


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I found your articles on balance interesting. But I found there to be too much emphasis on work/family. Balance is not just an issue for married people. To imply that it is makes single people feel like because they are not married they are perhaps flawed. We are all balancing a million things at once - work, play, friends, family, money, health, the list goes on. And there are so many little things that we can do for ourselves in the course of a day/week that we simply don't give ourselves credit for. I've been an CPA/entrepreneur for over 22. And 6 years ago I made some serious changes in my business life to find more balance. In the process, I discovered a lot about myself and began a business focused on balance. I wrote Life is a Balancing Act...a fun book to remind people of the simple things in life that bring us balance. It's a matter of making balance as much a priority as anything else.

Posted by: Debbie Lessin | Aug 4, 2006 9:17:09 AM

Thanks for your comment, Debbie. I think it points to the other article I wrote for this month's BeTuitive newsletter, in which I interviewed a number of entrepreneurs about work/life balance. I'll post that article today. I whole-heartedly agree with you that balance is an issue for everyone--not only married people. It just happened that the majority of the random sampling of entrepreneurs with whom I spoke are married. If anyone has a single balance story they'd like to share, I'd love to hear about it. Post a comment.

Posted by: Sarah Eaton | Aug 4, 2006 9:51:55 AM

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