Wednesday Retail Wisdom: Evening Habits of Successful People
The other day I wrote a playful post about the morning routines/habits of highly successful [you can read it here, if you’d like]. Sometimes it’s nice to write content that is not heavy in nature so weekly, I try to write content that is a fun and lighthearted read. Hopefully some of it is illuminating and helpful.
I was going through a personal/professional email crisis [there were sooo many] last week so I thought I would brush up on some habits of effectively managing email. While I was on that topic I was curious about the morning and evening routines of successful people. Here is what I found:
Taking Control Of Email
5 Steps of Inbox Sanity
[Source: Ivanka Trump]
Email is a productivity killer if not managed correctly. It also can intrude on downtime if you are overwhelmed and don’t have a system for managing it well.
1. Folders Are Your Friend
It’s pretty rare, especially in retail, for an employee to do one job only. Most of us wear a lot of hats, regardless of our position. So create a folder for every aspect of your job. This will help you sort and find those important emails needed to keep your email organized.
2. Sort Emails Into Appropriate Folder Immediately
Once you have noted needed actions or put important dates into your calendar, put the email into it’s respective folder. Leave urgent or time sensitive emails in your inbox to keep those things top of mind to ensure you don’t miss any important deadlines.
3. Zero Emails In Your Inbox Is Unreasonable
If your goal is simply to get to zero emails you will be missing critical actions and communication. Review and set a reasonable goal [for instance 20-30] for your inbox daily. When you get to that point, enjoy and unplug until tomorrow. There will always be more emails, but pace yourself and keep to your structure and it will soon become habit.
4. Use The Desk Top Notifications
If you are in the middle of a project, instead of clicking back and forth from email to your work – set up your notifications. That way, if you are waiting for a specific email, you can see it come through, the rest you can let filter to your email box and go through when you have a moment.
5. Know When To Ignore Email
Email can be distracting and mostly irrelevant if you are working on another project. It’s okay to turn it off for a bit and commit your focus to the project at hand.
Here is a handy Inbox Organization Tip Sheet that you can print out and keep at your desk to help support your commitment to being the boss of email!
I have gone back to attacking email only at scheduled blocks of time during the business day [four times per day on weekdays and two times per day on weekends . Other than those times, I am off of it. Over the summer, in our business, this is how we managed email and it worked out extremely well. Our store directors and their support staff were focused on the customer or their projects without feeling pressure to be glued to email and treating everything as if it were urgent in nature. If something was in fact urgent, we either called or personally visited the person we needed to partner with or we found the answer another way. Additionally, we instituted a rule that no emails were sent between 8:00pm and 8:00am in our business – we could construct the emails but had to use the scheduling tool to schedule their transmission for 8:00am the following day. This helped support balance for our team members (and for ourselves).
Tips To Unwind In The Evenings
According to a Good Technology study, “the average American puts in more than a month and a half of overtime a year – just by answering calls and emails at home.” A couple minutes here. A couple minutes there can really add up.
Here are some other statistics for you
-More than 80% of people continue working when they have left the office – for an average of seven extra hours each week – almost another full day of work. That’s a total of close to 30 hours a month or 365 extra hours every year.
-60% state they do it simply to stay organized
-Almost half feel they have no choice because their work demands quick replies
-68% of people check their work emails before 8 a.m.
-The average American first checks their phone around 7:09 a.m.
-50% check their work email while still in bed
-40% still do work email after 10 p.m.
-69% will not go to sleep without checking their work email
-57% check work emails on family outings
-38% routinely check work emails while at the dinner table
Find Balance [And Inspiration]
Plan Your Down Time
Build downtime into your schedule
When you get home commit to spending time with yourself, your family, your friend, children, cat, dog, whomever…where the focus is on just them. With the same level of focus and urgency we place on our work lives we should be able to place on our personal lives for a few hours a day.
According to Dr Charles Czeisler, a professor of sleep medicine at Harvard University, the bright lights produced by our cell phone screens disrupt our bodies natural sleep rhythm and actually “trick” our bodies into thinking it’s daytime. Those bright lights send a message to our brains that prevents certain chemicals from being released, causing us to have a much harder time going to sleep. So, if you want a good night’s rest, stash your phone in another room.
“Arianna Huffington has been an evangelist for “unplugging”. Every night before bed, she puts her phone in another room so she’s not distracted by it before bed.” [Source: LifeHack]
Talk A Walk
A study from Stanford found that walking boosts creative inspiration. They examined creativity levels of people while they walked versus while they sat. A person’s creative output increased by an average of 60% when walking.
Whether it is solving a business problem or coming up with something to write for your blog…walking is a great way to unwind and unleash your creativity.
Creativity Peaks At Times Of Mental Fuzziness
According to Scientific American there’s a study that actually shows night time can be the perfect time for creativity, even if you’re tired from a long day. This study revealed that, “tasks requiring creative insight was consistently better during their nonoptimal times of day.”
I keep a small notebook and a Sharpie by the bed and when ideas come to me, I jot them down…it truly is a moment of clarity and thought that can produce solutions, ideas, and actions.
Read For A Bit
According to The Telegraph UK, “Reading, for as little as six minutes a night can help reduce stress levels by 68%, said cognitive neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis.” You can head the article here.
According to LifeHack, a study performed in Britain showed that people who stimulated their minds through activities like reading, reduced cognitive decline by an average of 32% as they got older in age.
The Retail Industry is fast-paced with a lot of moving parts to it. If we don’t take steps to find some balance and order, it can exhaust us. Creating structure and habit to our evening routine (just like your morning routine) will help us to “unplug” from work and enjoy our personal time more – unplugging and clearing the clutter out of our minds will also allow us to be more creative and inspired as retail leaders. What a great opportunity!
Have an excellent rest of the week!