Sunday, February 08, 2009

How I know When I'm Busy

I've found that my life tends to move in cycles. There are periods of time when I'm not doing much and other times when I'm extremely busy (normally by choice). These cycles tend to correlate very closely with both the beginning and end of projects. I get excited and start working... and really don't stop for much. I also seem to go through a complete cycle about every 4 weeks.

I've noticed the best indicator of my busyness is my email inbox. 

When I'm not busy, my inbox has less than 5 emails in it - often zero. I'm easily able to keep up without any problems. Having an empty inbox is a good feeling. A REALLY good feeling. So when I'm not busy an empty inbox is what I strive for. This period lasts for about 3 weeks.

When I get busy, my inbox fills up fast. I actually start to realize just how much email I go through in a day. I currently have 40 emails, and it will probably climb to over 60 or 70 before I start whittling it down again. Which if I'm falling past behavior, will be in a few days because that'll be end of this busy week.

Then the cycle will complete and within a couple days I'll be back down to an empty inbox. It's crazy - I know.

I don't know if I have some deeply insightful point - I wish I did - I just thought I'd share what I've noticed. I guess that by acknowledging this pattern it helps me cope. As my inbox climbs closer to the century mark, I think it starts to bug me. It starts influencing my choices and I start opting to take care of other things in life. I suppose that's a good thing.

I now know that my inbox is filling up because of a choice I'm making. I can now decide to slow down and catch up, or decide to wait and no matter what it'll be OK because I know I can, and will, easily catch back up. So that's good too.

Here's a point: So, if you're sending me an email and I don't reply right away, fear not. I'm just busy and will definitely get back to you later. About a week later.

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