One thing at a time

Today I travel to Las Vegas for a talk tomorrow AM.

The advantage of living on the West Coast is that I still get a working Monday (crammed) in. However, it’s pretty crazy, being a Monday. A ton of emails and calls are flying in.

It’s easy to let the flow of incoming information bog me down, if I let it. Last week, there was a great article in the New York Times about the idea of setting aside time each day to check/write and manage email. The article tells the story of H. L. Mencken (1880-1956), who answered over 100,000 letters by hand during his career.

He had a simple strategy: He set aside time each day to answer the letters and totally focused on that, and only that, during that time period. By doing so, he was able to mow through a sea of incoming chatter, and still get his work done.

Today, I set aside time blocks to zero in on projects: Answer email, travel plans, blogging, etc. I blocked out from 8am until time to leave for the airport.

Surprise, surprise, I’m getting in a whole day and still making my afternoon flight.

Compare this with the constant-interruption, multi tasking meltdown approach. That leads to a lot of chores getting half done and that gnawing feeling that you didn’t get to all the items on your today list. So bag the “to-do list” and live by a well thought out calendar of single task activities!