Dec 15, 2011
Here’s one solution to spending too much time in your e-mail, which is a bad habit that even practiced MYN users can get into.
Why is the e-mail trap so easy to fall into?
One reason we end up reading e-mail all day long, and so not getting our “real” work done, is because e-mail incorrectly answers the question “what should I do next?” It’s just so easy to keep reading the next e-mail that’s in our list, and then the next and the next. It’s right in front of us and it feels like we are busy and occupied and doing good work. But it diverts us from putting our real work in front of us, and focusing on it.
Here is one way to get your real work clearly “in your face” right from the start so you work on it first. It is to start each day creating what I call the Day Focus list, and you can do that right inside the MYN task list.
What is the Day Focus list? The Day Focus list is simply the MYN Critical Now list combined with the MYN Target Now—these two together make up the Day Focus list in MYN.
As an MYN user you already know what the Critical Now list is; it’s those things absolutely due today—it’s the High priority in Outlook and ToodleDo. But you may not have used the Target Now list before. Target Now is an optional part of my MYN training and a very small part of the Outlook book. If you want to read more about Target Now, see the first part of Lesson 9 in the Outlook book. Briefly, the Target Now list identifies those items within the Opportunity Now section (medium priority) that you intend to get to today. They are essentially your most important Opportunity Now tasks.
So the MYN Day Focus list is those two things combined—the Critical Now list plus the Target Now list. The top part of this clearly shows what you must do today, and then the lower part what you really want to do (but may not get to). Here’s how that looks:
Why is this needed?
This is needed because it adds focus to your optional list. We can get lazy with a task list that has a lot of optional items—ones that continue on our list from day to day; it’s easy to just let them continue on forever. By creating the Target Now section each day, we focus our attention and make a significant commitment to working on those optional tasks. And by combining that with Critical Now, we now have a two-part “daily” list to strive toward completing.
As a current MYN user, the key addition here is you adding the Target Now process every day—it takes daily maintenance. Why? Because as shown in the Outlook book, in Outlook (and in ToodleDo by the way), the Target Now list is designated by those tasks that have a start date of today and that section clears itself each day (tomorrow all those tasks will have a start date one-day old). So in Outlook the underlines go away and in ToodleDo the “Today” status disappears. The process then is each day you need to recreate the list by setting the start date of you most important Opportunity Now tasks to today. Obviously this does take some work, but it’s good work since it forces you to rethink your list every day and make sure you have the right focus.
I encourage you to give this Day Focus list process a try. I think you’ll find it helps beat the e-mail obsession many of us have all day long, and allows us to get more of our real work done each day.