I have often been described as “well-read” even though I am not actually a reader. Obviously, I know how to read, but I have never found it particularly enjoyable even though I do find it valuable.
However, because I don’t gravitate to reading naturally, I usually arrive at the end of the year thinking I probably should have read more business or educational books. This year I set a goal to read at least 4 non-fiction books a quarter. This quarter I actually “read” six books. The trick for me, as a non-reader, was to try a somewhat alternative approach.
I have run my business affairs for as long as I can remember around my task list, calendar and – as soon as it was widely available – e-mail. It has been my method of organizing my day, ensuring priorities and projects are completed and very few (if any) details fall through the cracks. But was I keeping an empty inbox? Not quite.
The challenge has been to update and modify my behaviors as new technologies are developed and become widely used. Although I have done reasonably well in the realms of my task list and calendar, e-mail has always been a bit of a challenge. When I first started using e-mail, it was the exclusive domain of business people sharing “important” business information. As time marched on, it became more prevalent for personal correspondence to the point that today it is often our primary mode of communication. The result is an inbox that contains dozens, hundreds or thousands of messages; keeping an empty inbox, then, seems like fiction.
Activities we engage in on a regular basis are often described as habits. But before they become habits, we must first develop a discipline of repeated activities. This is where recurrence can come to the rescue.
Most of us develop a habit of brushing our teeth while we are young, but rarely does that occur without some level of nagging from our parents. They are critical in providing the discipline and accountability for us to develop the habit. As we move out on our own we have to find new methods for developing habits. Whereas self-discipline is the method we use for personal habits, there are often repeating tasks that are critical in developing a business that runs smoothly. Recurrence is a feature that is available in a variety of program and applications. When utilized properly, it can develop new patterns, reduce time spent on administrative tasks and free up mental energy for more creative endeavors. Recurrence features save time not only in your business life but in your personal life as well.