There are more than ten different ways that you can reach me at any given time - Email, WhatsApp, Phone, Slack, Hangouts, Facebook, so on - and each of these is a potential interruptor of whatever I'm doing.
There are days when I don't answer email (maybe not even read email) at work. And these are some of the most productive days. Yesterday, I happened to read the thoughts of both Chris Gullibeau and Seth Godin on the difference between being busy and being productive. It was good timing to read them yesterday.
I have written about my weekly planner and the way I go about doing things on any given day. A week ago, I decided to bring about a little change in the weekly planner. I decided to identify three things that I would like to do every day - three things that I would like to do, and not three things that are good for me or that make me better in any way - and see if I actually end up doing them.
My score for this week so far - 2 out of 18. Shocking!
From Monday to Saturday, having started each day thinking these are the three things I'd like to do that day for me, things as simple as meet a certain friend and buy a certain thing, I only did two of the eighteen things I wanted to. Shocking indeed. Especially given that I didn't have a particularly busy week.
It was interesting to come across the thoughts of Seth and Chris on emails keeping us busy and making us less productive, because most of the reds in my weekly planner were caused by interrupts through the inbox. Not necessarily email. WhatsApp and Slack had their fair share of contributions as well.
Starting this week, I have begun to pack less into my week to leave enough leg room for these interrupts because, let's face it, some of these interrupts are a part of what we do and really do need our attention.
PS: If I don't respond to your emails immediately, you know I'm getting some work done.