With The Action Machine, I set a variety of small maintenance tasks on their own timers, decided that was too complicated and lumped them all into one called Maintenance. I’m testing this at 1 hour/day: email, logging into various accounts, data backup.
That’s an hour a day spent just treading water. I’m hoping to lower that.
Email is important but it can be insidious. Checking it 20 times a day is just a nervous habit. Twice will do. Theoretically.
Last night as I was on my way to bed, feeling pleased as punch for having had a more productive and efficient day than usual, I decided to check my email one last time.
There was a message thanking me for requesting an upgrade to one of my services. I immediately wrote back and said, I did not request an upgrade. Awhile later I got another email saying, The upgrade is complete and has been charged to your credit card. Then I got on the phone. By the time they’d reversed the upgrade and I’d scoured my computer for holes and run a two and a half hour virus scan, it was 3 AM. Slightly over my one-hour limit.
I did accomplish several other scheduled tasks during the day including exercise and (in dire need of) grocery-shopping.
I’m not interested in scheduling every minute of my day because that would be way loonier than I actually am. I’m just adding projects and other things that I want to get to done but never seem to get around to for some reason. The purpose of The Action Machine is focus. And it has the side benefit of making you more aware of where you fritter away your time. It all comes down to choices in the end and whether you’re making them consciously or unconsciously.