Turn it off to turn me on

How often do you check your emails and messages?

When do you start checking them? When you first get to the office? When you first wake up?
When is the last time you check them? Just before leaving the office? Just before going to bed?

Bonjour. In this video, I want to share with you two simple pieces of advice in order to dramatically increase your focus and your performance.

Before I continue, I would like to explain the title of this video blog.

I started sending these video blogs a few years ago. I have an idea, write a short script, film it, and then write the blog. About two years ago I did a blog titled ‘turn it off to turn me on’. I printed it and left it on my desk. My wife TK saw the piece of paper on my desk and was intrigued by the title: “Cyril, what is that?”

I answered: “that’s the script for my next video blog”. She was quite shocked ‘Cyril, do you realize what it means, you can’t say this’. I decided therefore not to use this title.

However, I’ve always regretted not using it. So here it is, the ‘turn it off to turn me on’ is back…

So, what is the point behind all this?

Over the last 15 years, having worked with many leaders and their teams, I see they are under enormous amount of pressure to be available and “on “all the time.  We’re always checking emails, we have our mobile phone on us all the time with the notifications turned on. Many people are now using Teams or Slack and are constantly receiving messages.

This has had a massive negative impact not only on our wellbeing but also our performance. Firstly, it’s quite stressful to be constantly on. Secondly being “on” all the time is in fact very inefficient. As mentioned in a previous blog, batching your emails and messages is a much more efficient way to deal with all this noise. Finally, it is a very ineffective way to manage our workload because it kills our focus.

I want to make two simple suggestions to increase your focus.

My first suggestion would be to agree with your team on using an urgency communication tool. What do I mean by that? Email has become by default the urgency tool. If I want to ask something urgent, we send an email. As a consequence, we feel that we should constantly check our inbox.

For real urgency, I am talking about things which need to be dealt with urgently. Therefore, agree what is the right communication tool for your team. This shouldn’t be email, Teams or Slack. SMS however is fine.

My second suggestion is to turn off all your notifications, except SMS. Do not have notifications on for emails, Slack and Teams.

Let’s breathe here. It’s possible.

No email notifications, no Teams notifications, no Slack notifications. This will increase your focus. Moreover, you’ll discover that real emergencies are in fact really, really rare.

This is this week’s Work Smarter: Live Better tip: agree with your team on an urgency communication tool and turn off your notifications. If you find that the tactics and Mindshift from my blogs are useful for you and your team, do not hesitate to reach out. My team and I work with leaders around the world helping them to be more focused on their priorities and feel more in control.

A bientôt,

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