Plus, a bit of inbox management advice…
Let me tell you a little something about me. For all my über-organised, tidy to the point of anal, Virgo personality traits, there is one thing that I’m really, really good at, that when you look at the rest of my qualities doesn’t really match up. Oh yes – I’M THE QUEEN OF PROCRASTINATION. All my teacher’s reports, even those from my younger years, feature the line ‘Anna is easily distracted by others‘ and to this day it couldn’t be more true. I love to be distracted. Fluffy little kitten Facebook videos are my jam. I can scroll through Human’s of New York for hours. I find myself in a vortex of cute proposals and soldier’s coming home from war videos on YouTube and sob for a good hour. I re-watch Parks & Recreation, Friend’s episodes and YouTube videos that I’ve seen before a million and one times (Jenna Marbles shaving off her eyebrows video is a personal favourite). You get the gist…
I was never that bad when I worked in an office. I found it easier to get into a groove, although I can hand on my heart say that I definitely wasn’t the most efficient worker there. Working from home has obviously exacerbated the issue and when there’s no one around to say ‘Oi Anna! Stop watching that video of how to make baked camembert in its own little bread bowl! You’ve seen it before!’, it becomes a bit of a problem.
The first stage to a resolution of all of this though is admitting it, right? So this year I’ve been determined to stay a little more on task, keep focus and get back into the swing of things productivity-wise. Actually, my 10-day home alone stint whilst Mark was away kicked it off nicely. There were only three tasks that I did on repeat; watch Sex and The City, eat, then edit/write/answer emails. It wasn’t the most gripping time of my life, but it enabled me to get ahead with blog posts and videos, which in turn frees up time for me to get more creative with them. WIN, WIN.
The lack of distractions is one thing, but now I’m back in excited puppy mode with my companion back it’s time to employ another method. This is where once again I looked to the amazing Monica for advice. Over the past couple of months she’s become my oracle for life know-how – if that girl wrote a book I would pre-order that shiz on Amazon immediately. This post about ‘The One Touch Technique’ was exactly what I was looking for one day whilst I was procrastinating – oh the irony.
The idea is simple. Once you’ve touched ‘on’ to a task – say opening up your post in the morning – you completely finish it before you begin something else. So whether you have to RSVP to an invite or file away some paperwork, you actually do it then and there without saving it for later (a.k.a – ‘I’ll do it in 3 weeks time’). In theory it’s awesome, but of course in practice you might not have necessarily everything you need on hand at that particular time to finish a task.
I’m currently physically unable to apply this 100% of the time, but I do find it really handy for two things: writing blog posts and tackling my inbox. Now, when I’m writing a post I’ll aim to completely polish it off and write the whole thing before I go browsing down my social media rabbit hole or make lunch. The same goes for my emails. I keep my mail app closed until I actually have time to respond to everything that’s in there, instead of refreshing it every two minutes, looking at what’s in there and then taking an age to reply. If I haven’t got time to respond then and there then I wait until I can. Side note: Caroline’s tip about only checking your inbox three times a day – I aim for morning, lunchtime and late afternoon – is genius.
UPDATE: Whilst writing this post I only got distracted three times. I think that’s a new record. Thanks Monica!
Photos by Lauren Shipley