I am reading Timothy Ferriss' The 4-Hour Workweek. Fascinating stuff. I am familiar with his lifestyle design model, and even blogged about it a year or so ago. But until now I hadn't actually read the book. Then again, until now I didn't realize how important it was to carve out time for the most important things in my life. How important it is to work smart rather than hard. How important it is to prioritize and re-energize. Now all said and done, I don't think I'm going to get away with an actual 4-Hour Workweek, but I am trying to find and use real strategies to simplify my work day and at-home responsibilities so I can really enjoy being a mom and a wife.
And today, I tackled email. Ferriss talks about his "low-information diet." He reduces the amount of information he consumes each day by filtering certain newsprints and programming and using friends and colleagues to gather information about what's happening in the world. I used this same approach with my work email and did a massive "unsubscribe." I have three main constituents: my boss, my team, and my students - they are my priority. So I'm getting off of professional association and related list-serves, because they're doing nothing but cluttering up my inbox. And if I really want to know what's happening I'll go to the actual source (i.e. related journal or website).
I'm also thinking about reading my work email only twice a day. Once in the morning, at which time I'll just read, file and respond to anything urgent. And again around 4:00; at which point I'll address anything left unanswered. Not only might this help me better organize my time, but will help me respond rather than react (a personal challenge).
I'm hoping this is the first of many steps I'll take over the next few months to stream-line the work I do. The goal?: become a smarter, more energetic and more productive employee; not to mention a happier mom.