Rabbit holes: those places you fall into and use way more time than you expected. Like: You go to send just one email and end up in your email for an hour. You’re self-employed, working out of a home office; you walk by the living room, notice dust and 2 hours later, the whole living room is dusted and vacuumed. But in the middle of your workday. You start research for the class you need to teach and 2 hours later, you’re still researching, fascinated, but no further in your lesson plans.
Instead of Falling Down Your “Rabbit Holes”…
Know what your own version of a rabbit hole looks like: email, the internet, social media, too-long emails, phone calls that go on too long, research, creating the perfect document/presentation/plan? If you know your trigger, you’ll be able to put a fence around the rabbit hole, and stop yourself before you fall. If you don’t know what your issues are, track your time for a day or two and you’ll quickly find out where your rabbit holes are.
If You Start Towards That Rabbit Hole
- Find a way to pause and make a deliberate choice instead of falling automatically. For example …Sit back, cross your arms. Take 10 seconds to figure out your plan.
- Get up and stand up behind your chair for 15 seconds.
- Write down exactly what you need to research first; what IS the research or internet question. Clarify the question first, before diving into the internet and it’ll take much less time. Write down the question if you need the visual reminder [and in case you start to get lost in your curiosity]. Save curiosity for later.
- For research, decide on the number of sources you’ll check first. How much is enough ?
- For the other examples and research: Set a timer for 30 minutes and see where you’re at; decide what more is needed (30 minutes is random; it’s a way to stop and make a choice and realize if you’ve used your time well or not).
- For email, use the “Pause” button (GMail) or on Outlook and others, use the menu to change how often your email is delivered to you. Make it less often than “on all the time.”
- For the living room dusting example: Stop in your tracks. What’s making this an interesting project, right now? Are you avoiding something at work – a project, a conversation, a conflict? Make a choice: are you going to do this during your workday; when will you pick up the work/billable time instead? If you don’t mind mixing up your days and evenings with both work and personal, then decide how long you want to spend cleaning and set your timer. Use a certain number of songs or TED talks or chapters of your audio book and that can be your deadline.
Don’t fall into yours. If you need to figure out your own way, give me a call or text/email. Use the “Contact Me” box and I’ll get back to you within one business day.