Do you react instantly every time you see an email in your inbox or receive an email on your phone, stop what you are doing and reply?
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Every time you stop what you are doing or are distracted by an email you are being controlled by something or someone else. I stopped the constant pressure and demands over two years ago and now my email works for me, I am not a slave to it.
Firstly our email is not the problem – we are
Constantly checking our emails effects our productivity. Ever had one of those days where you are busy being busy and at the end of the day you have achieved nothing?
Secondly, constantly checking our emails not only affects our productivity but can affect our stress levels as we feel pressured to constantly deal with our inbox.
However, equally important is how you set up your email and your alerts.
Research shows that you really don’t get much done when you’re constantly checking your emails all the time. This is because you are distracted and jumping from one thought to another as you read through the emails and it may make this more difficult for you to focus on the task at hand.
Is it good or bad news?
Switch off the pressure
While this may be the case some of us are required to respond to emails instantly as part of the job, so what practical measures can we take to avoid being a slave to email alerts!
This is what I did and my hope is that you can use some of these strategies in your life to switch off the constant pressure:
1. Take your email off your phone
Take a break you do not need to be online and contactable 24/7.
It also stops you peeking at your email during lunch or business meetings and being distracted.
When you are with someone else you need to be fully present and you are unable to do this if half your brain is constantly checking your emails every five seconds.
2. Block out time in your day to respond to emails
Depending on your ratio of emails to work you can block out time once a day or four times a day. For example first thing in the morning, mid morning, after lunch and before you leave the office.
3. Categorise your emails
During your “email time” file your emails in three different folders
Never – delete right away,
Later – follow up and
Now – deal with the emails you need to deal with immediately.
4. Set up an auto response
This lets people know you have received their email and will deal with it. I like to give a time frame so that you can manage their expectations and they know how soon they will get a reply.
In conclusion – stand up to your email
Be the boss of your inbox and get more done!
Use the Now, Later, Never principles to control the emails in your inbox and develop your own system that fits in with your specific job and email requirements. The idea is to make this easier, less time consuming and less stressful and as with everything there is no “one size fits all approach”.
Will you give these strategies a try?
Although it may not seem easy at first it gets easier over time and you will wish you had done it years ago.
Let’s use technology as it was intended – to make our lives easier not more complicated. Don’t be a slave to your email, learn to switch off the constant pressure.
Connect with Expert Kerry Madgwick.