The Founding Editor of 99U on How to Pace Yourself to Achieve Your Best

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How can you fit more into your day, smartly?

As the founding editor of 99U, a platform that inspires creative people to work smarter, Brooklyn-based author Jocelyn K Glei – whose books include bestselling titles Maximize Your Potential and Manage Your Day-to-Day – is also host of the Hurry Slowly podcast, a show about pacing yourself to achieve your best.

There’s been a huge shift going on in the workplace – a flattening of the hierarchy. The fact many people are juggling a number of projects rather than having a single job, and the rise in people working remotely or working for themselves – all those things mean the need for [effective] self-management is so much greater than it was five or 10 years ago.

We get so rushed we don’t take the time to identify [our] goals. We need to stop and ask ourselves: what are the things I want to accomplish that will make me feel really good about myself and really have an impact on my career? It’s super easy to just keep busy and feel like you’re doing stuff. All that stuff will bubble up and take up as much space as you give it.

People are usually more successful at sticking with resolutions when they say, ‘I don’t do that’. For example, ‘I don’t check my emails on Saturdays’ or ‘I don’t miss my gym routine’. I’ve found that saying you ‘don’t’ do something gives the idea of a hard-and-fast principle that you’re sticking to.

Studies have shown that when people batch their emails – check it in one or two or three chunks during the day – they’re more productive, less stressed and happier.

With the digital medium, there are no limits. We’re physical people, we have [a set] number of hours in a day. Your email inbox, though, is unlimited. It means you always have to, very consciously, place limits on your digital consumption.

I think about the 80:20 rule [when it comes to managing my inbox]. It’s where 20 per cent of your input produces 80 per cent of your output. If you take that idea to your emails, only one in five of your messages are going to have some serious impact on what you’re trying to do. Studies have shown that when people batch their emails – check it in one or two or three chunks during the day – they’re more productive, less stressed and happier.

If you want to say yes to your priorities, you have to say no to other things. That’s just the way that it works. Every time you say yes to something you don’t really want to do, you’re saying no to the things you do want to do – it’s useful to think about the trade-off there.

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