For the last week I’ve been working on sorting through all the messages I’ve let accumulate in my Inbox at work. I leave the messages there because I seem to think that I’ll need to refer back to them. You know, each “Lost/Found Keys in the Lunchroom” email, and each “we saw this error 6 months ago and you might see it again” email. I had a sorting system but I was a little to granular. I had one for Wireless issues, one for WAN issues however if the issue seemed to span Wireless and WAN I always didn’t know quite where to put the message. So I’d leave it in my inbox until I decided…
So I followed a suggestion instructions on Leo Babauta’s website zenhabits.net. I modified his list but I think it will work for me. I created an Action folder and an Save folder. I found that when I searched for an email I’d open up my All Documents link (we use Lotus Notes at work – don’t judge me) and just search for the sender/receiver or subject. So now I just have to go to the Save folder or still go to the All Documents. Under the Save folder I have a couple of specialized folders that I do actually use. But those folders had to meet criteria – have I actually looked in this folder in my recent memory, or will I likely do so. If it didn’t meet these requirements the folder was trashed and the emails were moved to the Save folder. For example, I like to save the emails regarding new employees at our company or emails that are sent when people leave the company. Those two folders I’ve actually used recently and I like to go through them nostalgically and remember people who came and went.
Today, finally, I’ve completed emptying my Inbox of all that crap that I didn’t really need to refer to. Anything that I still need to act on is in the Actions folder – and this I hope to keep up to date – moving items out when they are acted upon. It took me maybe 4 hours to really get this completed.
Ever have a day when you’re so overwhelmed you sit at your desk for the last 4 hours of the day and just do nothing? Not really nothing… just anything but work.
Or have you ever had a day where the project you have to get done, doesn’t? Not because you didn’t work on it. Rather you worked on it for 15 minutes in every hour of they day but then got interrupted at least, if not more, than once an hour by something that is absolutely more important than your project.
The world is burning and you’re project is to find out how to stop it – but you keep getting interrupted by the little fires starting to eat away at your building which you legitimately have to stop now, but these little things keep interrupting your work on the big picture.
For me, this happens every day. Its frustrating. I think its what makes me so crabby in the evenings. I think it causes road rage as well. However I’ve come up with a way to work with it.
My most successful way to focus, I’ve found is to estimate an amount of time that I think I can get a specific task completed. Sit there for that amount of time, close my email, put my phone on do not disturb, and do it. If I get a little longer than that allotted time, I let myself. But I have to complete that task.
Then I choose my next task and how long it will take. And I do it again.
This also makes my time sheet easier. I have to account for all my time spent in a day, what project I spent time on, what customer I worked with.
We just finished the flea market today – had a great 2 days. Saturday attendance was the most I’ve ever seen. Thankfully it calmed down. (I don’t like crowds.) I walked around after it thinned out and found something I’ve been looking for. “Elongated Penny” Albums. Yes I’m a nerd. I get my pennies pressed at various tourist sites I visit. Within St. Louis and out. (I reside in the St. Louis area and always find it funny that I act like a tourist in my own town, by buying souvenirs and pressing pennies.)
On a side note, who knew these things were called “elongated” pennies? I certainly didn’t. But I’m happy I have albums for them now!
On a another side note, I didn’t get my bottles cleaned. But my sister had plenty to sell. We think we sold over half of her inventory.