If you check your email the moment you open your eyes in the morning, please raise your hand. Yes, guilty as charged—I keep my BlackBerry on my nightstand. But I know I’m not the only junkie out there.
Caffeine isn’t the only thing you can get addicted to at the office. And those addictions, like racing to get through all that email in your inbox or checking to see how many “friends” commented on your latest Facebook post, could be holding you back in a big way. And that’s something that has Vickie Milazzo worried. Milazzo is the New York Times best-selling author of Wicked Success Is Inside Every Woman (Wiley, 2011), but she’s sharing her insight to help both men and women get the most out of their day.
In her latest book, she talks about how easy it is to get caught up in tasks that she calls “feel-good addictions,” while ignoring or delaying work on the big projects that actually advance careers. “Let’s face it,” she says. “It feels good to empty your inbox, but you’re not going to get a promotion for it.”
Milazzo says that you set the tone for your work habits when you wake up in the morning. “You have to think about how you start your day,” she says. “Most people jump on their computers. The first part of the day, focus on you.” Spend some time in gratitude for all you’ve accomplished so far, then think about your primary goals for the day and for the week.
“The more successful you are, the more you’re challenged by the noise. More people want your time,” Milazzo says. So how do you let go? You might start by turning off your email for an hour or two a day and focusing solely on a project that advances your career goals. “Always be working on something big,” Milazzo says. “Usually, it’s the big stuff that gives us long-term success and fuels our passion.” The to-do list will never disappear, so make progress on what matters most by letting go of the rest.
Milazzo adds that your attitude can also impact your ability to avoid some of those feel-good addictions. “Success is inside,” she says. “We have to use our power in a conscious way. Whining, complaining and negativity are the biggest energy wasters. People who are most successful know how to rein that stuff in.”