The Universe Got My Attention
I pride myself on being efficient, and I’m betting that you do too.
Don’t you feel that you get more done than just about anyone else? Do you see how others waste their time and do things that don’t make sense? And do you want to tell them what to do to fix it—but you hold your tongue?
Me too. Except that I do tell them. LOL! In fact, you could say that it’s my job to tell people what they’re doing wrong and how to fix it.
So, when someone tells me that I’m doing something wrong, I naturally resist, because I think that I more or less have efficiency figured out.
But that’s not always true.
I confess that I sometimes get distracted. I’m human, and I have my “squirrel” moments. I also have certain tasks I prefer to work on over others. Even so, I think my style works well. I’m still crazy-efficient and I get a lot done.
Recently, I’ve been thinking that the universe is trying to tell me something and I need to listen. I’ve been hearing the same message over and over. The universe’s message is that I have not been working at peak efficiency. I have been distracting myself, and wasting time. Once I started listening to this message, I realized that I could make more efficient use of the first hour of my day.
I made a simple change in the way I spent that crucial first hour, and my efficiency in the morning improved exponentially! Why didn’t I listen to “the universe” sooner?
[ctt template=”3″ link=”xeyPr” via=”yes” ]Making a simple change the way you spend the first hour will improve your efficiency exponentially. Find out what to do here[/ctt]
In the past, I would do what many admins do. I’d go into my office and open up my email and read it over. Then I would zip over to Facebook to see how much love I was getting (I do love to make you laugh in the morning), I would check LinkedIn, and then Twitter, and then go back to my email and respond to messages.
Don’t get me wrong, that is all a good use of my time. Social media is part of my business. Responding to email is crucial to my job. Responding to my email in a timely matter is one of the things that sets me apart from others. I’m good at email. And I enjoy social media (working at home isn’t always as social as I would like).
However, for the first hour of the day, dealing with those things isn’t necessarily the best use of my time. In the past, I’ve written articles identifying the best time of day for you LINK TO ARTICLE, and I’ve written about using Post-In Notes to keep you focused LINK TO ARTICLE. Those ideas still stand, but I want to add to them.
The universe told me that I wasn’t being efficient and it suggested that the first hour of the day should be spent doing the highest value tasks.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”5a9J7″ via=”yes” ]The first hour of the day should be spent doing the highest value tasks[/ctt]
Email, social media, and connection are important to me, but they are not the most important things I have to deal with. Your to-do list probably doesn’t include social media but is it easy for you to get caught up in email, cleaning up requests, and socializing with co-workers.
Each of those things is important and some time needs to be spent on them each day. However, the first hour of the day needs to be spent on the tasks that are ultimately the most important drivers of your success.
I just finished writing my book “Alexa is Stealing Your Job.” I love writing. When I signed the contract with my publisher, I had a very short timeframe in which to produce the manuscript (especially since the content for this book is time-sensitive). My timeframe coincided with an incredibly busy training delivery time.
When was I going to write this book?
The first hour of every day.
I needed to stop falling into my old habits (email, social media) and get uber-disciplined about what my day looked like. It wasn’t easy, but holy cow did it work!
Using my new regime, I walked into the office and looked at my email. I didn’t delete anything, and I didn’t respond. I did make sure there were no catastrophes for me to deal with (generally there were not). I forced myself to respond to my emails later. I had to convince myself that an email at 9:30 a.m. was just as good as one sent at 8 a.m. Because it really is.
Once I looked at my email and saw that the world wasn’t collapsing, I would listen to my voicemail. This would all take less than five minutes. Then I would jump into my most important task. I would set a timer. I would write for one hour a day, for several weeks. And, as expected, I finished the book on time.
And it felt great.
I also realized that taking a full hour at the beginning of the day for the most important task was something that most people don’t do. It made me feel like I was moving forward with my to-do list. It made me feel (early in the day) that I had accomplished something. I felt good about my new work habit.
I am continuing that approach even though the book is finished. At the end of each day, I decide what my most important task is and I get my work and desk ready for the next day. I remind myself in the morning that I’m not going to get stuck doing “what I’ve always done.” (After all, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.)
I decided that I’m going to continue to spend the first hour of each day doing the most important task I have. After the hour is over, I’ll go back to my regular tasks—email, voicemail, paperwork. I will do it. And I will do it in a timely manner. But I’ll do something much more important first.
Don’t get stuck in a routine. Look at all your tasks for each day and ask yourself which task is the hardest, requires the most concentration, and is the most important.
That’s the one you should spend your first hour of the day doing.