Find 2 to10 Extra Hours Per Week With One Simple Action
I’ve been reading the 4 Hour Work Week- Wow. If you haven’t purchased this book, I would highly recommend doing so. This book really is unlike any other that I have ever read. Ferriss’s blunt, unconventional, down to earth, tell-all style is refreshing to say the least and life altering if you try even one of his suggestions.
Usually, I’ll tear through a book this size is a day or so, but not this one. I really have to stop and think about what he’s saying. I’m almost afraid that if I read it too quickly and absorb too much too fast, that I’ll be so unsatisfied with my current work-life balance that it will be too much to bear. That’s how good it is. I love it.
So how do you find 2-10 extra hours per week?
Stop obsessively checking email!
I am so guilty of this and would venture to say that my email habits prior to reading this book were costing me about 10 hours per week in completely wasted time.
Are You Checking Email Just to Feel Important?
The first point I’d like to talk about that has already made a huge impact on not only my work, but also my stress level and my life, is managing email. Ferriss says that for the last 4 years, he has only checked his email once per week on Mondays-“ that’s it!!
Though many of us believe that our businesses and our lives would fall apart if we weren’t to tend to our email constantly, Ferriss says that this simply isn’t true. In fact, he says that his business became more profitable once he removed himself as a bottleneck!
He calls email an enormous time waster a task that we engage in that keeps us busy but that often is completely unproductive.
And here’s where it really gets uncomfortably true…
He basically says that those of us (including his former self) who constantly engage in time-wasting unproductive activities for the sake of keeping busy are doing this to gain some sense of false importance. Ouch. But so true.
He doesn’t recommend that you go from serial email checker to once per week right away. Instead, he recommends shutting down email and checking it once at noon and once again at 4:00.
Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong!
David read this book while he was on vacation a month ago and limiting email checking was his first action toward a 4 hour work week. David and I are both self-proclaimed email addicts. Before reading the 4 Hour Work Week, we were serial email checkers and instant responders.
This was the first action that both of us attempted to implement and promptly failed. We’re getting better though and constantly trying new to eliminate the unnecessary burden of email that is holding back our lives for no good reason. There were several problems that sucked us right back in to being email addicts:
Pretend problem #1
The first problem was the fear of missing something. After shutting down Outlook for several hours at a time, I realized that I wasn’t missing anything critical. But for some reason, I started shutting it down less and less, until it was open all the time once again.
Pretend problem #2
Then a technical problem: how do you SEND an email to someone without opening your email and getting caught up in your inbox? David’s solution was to open a separate email account for sending emails only. My solution will be to continue sending all of my email to Outlook, setting email to delete from my web based email upon delivery to Outlook, and sending email only through web mail. This way, even if someone replies to me, I won’t see it until I check Outlook at my predetermined times.
How Email Can Destroy Productivity
This weekend I shut down Outlook all day Saturday and checked it once on Sunday. When I did open it, 200+ emails poured in, 63 of which landed in my inbox and the rest in junk. Handling those emails took me about 25 minutes. However, if I had responded to them as they rolled in, they would have cost me so much more time it is almost inconceivable.
Though each email may only take seconds or a minute to deal with, the cost of stopping what you are doing, losing focus, allowing stress into your life, and changing your train of thought to reply can set you back an immeasurable amount of time and cause a project you’re working on to take multiple times longer than it needs to.
Share Your Experience!
Are you an email addict? Have you overcome an email addiction? If so, how has it changed your life? Have you read The 4 Hour Work Week?