Quick: get an image in your head of a businessman's office from a movie before the advent of computers. Maybe it's a Spencer Tracy/Katherine Hepburn movie. Maybe it's James Mason in a Hitchcock movie. It doesn't matter as long as it's pre-computer.

Now, think about the desk. It's big. It's mahogony, or maybe walnut. There's a brass lamp on one side with a green shade. There's a phone on the other side. And what's in the middle?

A blotter. And not just any blotter. A blotter with a calendar on it. Because the executive needs to see where's he's been, where he's going, and what his commitments are. He lives in his calendar.

Now, take a look at your desk. What's in the middle? A computer, of course. And most likely, your email is up on the screen. In fact, if you're like most people, that's the first thing you look at in the morning. Not your calendar, but your inbox.

But here's the thing: email is not your work. It's just a communication tool. It enables you to do your work, but it's not actually your value-added work.

Keeping your inbox front and center is akin to our pre-computer era businessman keeping his phone smack dab in the middle of his desk. Which is fine if you're Commissioner Gordon and you need to call Batman when Mr. Freeze escapes, but it's not so great for you.

You should live in your calendar, not your inbox. That's where you can track your tasks, your responsibilities, your goals, your commitments. That's how you ensure that you're doing the right things at the right time. Ignoring the calendar and living in your inbox means more stress, less focus, and lower efficiency.

Batman would not approve.

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