Like everyone reading this blog post, I am busy. I have too much on my plate. I can’t get to all the things I need to do today. I feel guilty for the I cannot get to. I panic over what I am missing, or what has fallen through the cracks. I wish I had more time. When I have more time I don’t want to be doing business development. I need a vacation. I’m afraid of a vacation and leaving the office (actually, my in-box).

I get it. But here’s my problem: I am supposed to coach you on how to work your way through this, while I am living the same problem. 

It is hard to teach by anything other than example. I believe in mirroring the behavior I want others to employ. I preach “face-time,” so you can bet I will trek down to your officer rather than use an inner-office envelope. I believe in sharing content to stay top of mind, and creating content to build awareness about you, your brand, and to showcase your value, so I share information and blog regularly.

In a recent session with David Ackert, he gave a simple, yet perfect piece of advice that is so hard to do because it entails breaking a deeply ingrained habit:

Before jumping into the e-mail immediately when you get into the office, take 15 minutes (or 10 or 30) to take care of what you need to do.

This advice is very reminiscent of David Allen‘s “If it takes two minutes or less, do it now.” Easier said than done sometimes.

The self-reflection for me is that I get this all too well. Once I open Outlook my day is off and running. Depending on what is on my calendar, my task list, and what is coming into my in-box, my day can take on a life of its own and I will not get to those items I felt I had to get to today.

So this morning, as I booted up my computer I launched Outlook as I always do, but I immediately minimized the screen. I then turned and opened up Feedly on my second screen to review the blogs and news I track, sharing a few relevant posts on Twitter I thought others might also enjoy.

By keeping all of my subscriptions in an RSS feed I avoid cluttering my in-box. However, if I don’t open up Feedly, I don’t see it. I have to make the time to do this, as being a collection of information, and then passing it along, is part of what I do as a marketing and business development professional.

So what days it take to change a habit? Thirty? Sixty? Ninety days? Yikes. I’m already in a panic that I cannot break this habit. But I have been taught that by doing things a day at a time I can get through anything. I just have to begin somewhere.

To answer my own question, “What do you do with good advice?” I give it a good try and make it intentional.