I have entered the Cone of Silence. For the North Americans amongst this readership, you will recognize this from the 1965 – 1970 sitcom Get Smart. Agent Maxwell Smart and his boss would sit at a table and a cone would drop down from the ceiling to surround them, blocking out the rest of world. I’m in my Cone of Silence alone, but I am blocking out the rest of the world.
I decided I needed to take a step back from the world this week. I started this strategy on Tuesday. I made no social plans this week, and I even cancelled an event I had scheduled for this weekend. I am reading my personal emails, but am only responding to ones that need immediate attention, which are really not that many. And I have not been on a single online dating site all week.
This means I went for an hour’s run the other night. I am well into a project I have been putting off. I have prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner for myself every day. And I have finally come up with an organizational strategy at work that so far seems to be doing the trick. Want to hear about that? Rhetorical question, by the way, since I have every intention of telling you no matter what.
Okay, I started off by putting in some overtime to clean up my emails. I had over 600 of them. At first, I was being very diligent about reading them all. This very quickly became onerous and tiresome, so I sorted by date and deleted anything over a month old. That’s right; I hit the big delete button! Then I sorted the rest and printed off action items. These action items were put into one of five folders, representing each day of the week.
I now start my day actioning that day’s folder. I don’t even look at my email. When that folder is empty, I spend the rest of the day, going through the process of reading my emails, printing them off, and putting them into a Day of the Week folder. I do not go home until my email bucket is empty. Also, I have refused to treat any action item as critical and requiring immediate, if not yesterday, attention. I work in tax, people, nobody is going to die!
All in all, I’m feeling pretty good in my Cone. I have arranged to meet someone I met online next week, but until I actually do, I will let the world spin on in its chaotic way. I’m going to stick to my Silence.
• Nothing at work is that important that it can’t wait at least 24 hours
• Sometimes true happiness can be found by not participating