I read a Facebook post yesterday referencing an author who said she had Inbox fatigue because she was receiving newsletters from over 50 other authors. This morning I was reading a blog post written by another author that said by the time she got through her Inbox and her social media she had little energy left to write. Do you see the pattern here? Let’s talk about two tips every author can implement to fix information fatigue and spend more time writing.
- FOMO (fear of missing out). Hear me people: you do not have to subscribe to anybody’s newsletters, let alone 50. If you’re looking at them for marketing research, scale it down to two or three that are really good and scan them for ideas. More information does not equal better execution. There is a saturation point and if you are feeling overwhelmed, you are over saturated. Put your foot down with yourself. You’re not missing anything.
Go through your Inbox everyday and unsubscribe to any email that is not essential to your personal or business operations. Don’t be afraid you’re going to miss something. Your best path to succeed is not found in copying others anyway. Be picky. Set yourself a limit and stick to it. Work on the replacement theory. If you are tempted to subscribe to another email or newsletter, which one are you going to give up? Keep to a specific number and force yourself to unsubscribe to something every time you subscribe to something else.
- Your tasks and energy cycles are not matching up. If going through your email and social media drains your energy, don’t do those tasks until you are done writing. One of the biggest mistakes I see authors making is not being aware of the times of day when their creative energy and focus is the highest. Using Stephen Covey’s time matrix, make sure you have the urgent and important tasks in the time slot where you have the most energy. Email and personal social media are not a priority—ever. Writing is a priority. Personal focus is a priority. Your health is a priority. Which time of the day do you have the best energy? Start that time slot with writing.
Sit down and take an energy audit. Which four-hour time slot of the day do you feel the most energized and focused? Put writing as the first task in that time slot along with whatever personal rituals you do to get energized and focused—exercise, meditation, journaling, whatever. Stay away from tasks that are “urgent but not important” until all your important tasks are done.
If you suffer from either of these problems, it’s time for a reality check. Start today to put those pesky housekeeping tasks like email and personal social media into a time slot where you don’t have high focus or energy—that is where they belong. You’ll be doing yourself a big favor if you start leaving “the tyranny of the urgent” behind and start focusing on what’s really important when your energy level is high. The email will still be there. Social media isn’t going away. Cut back, discard, be judicious. Above all, protect your highest energy time for your most important task: writing.