Increased Availability: Are You Handling it, Or Is It Handling you? Solution

Published by Tim D’Arcy on 27 June, 2013

Firstly, if you think this is challenging, know that there is hope. You can most likely do something about the situation with a few small steps.

< This post follows on from the question post

However, you should also know that the way you perform your work today has created a pattern and a way of working that actually has become your work methodology. This is your habit, and if you have read anything about changing habits, or like most people you have tried to change a habit, you might have realised that it can be quite hard. You need to force yourself to do (or not do) the thing you have decided upon quite a few times before it starts to feel natural - brain scientists say it takes 21 times without any fallbacks. If a fallback occurs you must start over again. (You can read more about changing habits in another blogpost.)

So what can you do about the increased availability? Try to protect the time that you have available, at least enough so that you can manage to do three, two or maybe just one task that is of the utmost importance to make progress in your own to-do list or project plan.

How do you do this? Well, for one thing you can try to block chunks of time in your calendar that are purely “own time”. We call them “meetings with myself”. These chunks of time should be as respected by you and others as a client meeting (unless something really important occurs of course - let’s be practical about it).

When you do this a couple of times per day, realise that you have actually organised yourself so that you can more easily follow your plan. Needless to say, turn off all your beeps and notifications about new emails arriving. “Oh,” you say, “that is not possible for me! It could be something important.” I agree. So try to rearrange your office and coworkers in such a way that important and urgent tasks and issues don’t arrive in people’s inboxes.

Coworkers should rather use the phone, or show up face-to-face to make sure the matter is taken care of. That way you can be more at ease about not checking your mail every 5 minutes. You could also try to do more planning, and stick to what you have planned.

Remember that when you first made the plan, it probably made perfect sense, so when the planned moment comes, it is time to act – don’t start debating with yourself whether or not you should do it. Replanning, reorganising or reprioritising is a great thing when surrounding conditions change, but don’t search for it, because you will always find a reason for not doing something.

Good luck and you can read more about managing your time here.

reducing work stress, time management

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