Minimize Time in Email

Dec
02
2012

There are many bloggers out there writing about the subjects I write about.  I mean, there are a ton of places on the internet you can go to get the information I am putting out here.  This info is also not new; it’s been around for some time.  Why, then, am I writing it?  After careful thought, the answers are:

  • Whenever I seek information, I also seek out reinforcement of that info.  Much like private music lessons, five teachers can tell you the same thing but the 5th time it “sticks”.  Consider my blog reinforcement to other info you have found.
  • Perhaps this is the first time you are getting this info.  Cool!  Hopefully the other blogs/books I point you toward will be reinforcing my viewpoints.
  • Once in a while, someone will say the same thing as someone else in a slightly different way that creates the necessary spark in the listener (reader).  Hopefully the spin I put on these subjects info will create that spark.
  • Finally, I am in a phase where I am incredibly passionate about my content!  I am reading, thinking, and acting upon this stuff daily and I need to write about it and share what works.

Either way, as my teachers used to say: Take what you like and leave the rest!

So on to email…

I receive at least 100-200 emails every day, all for different jobs and personal reasons.  I am sure many of you find yourselves in the same boat.  If I am not careful, email can rule my entire day (and it has…way more than once!), so I need to be efficient in the way I approach checking it.

I have been on a journey to limit my email use as much as possible and get straight to my larger goals.  I am only “half way there” with this, but a few steps I have taken have worked like a charm.  I highly recommend you do the following:

Step 1.  Whittle down the number of in-boxes you have.  Including Facebook, AOL, Outlook, and others, I had 7 in-boxes I needed to check daily.  I have it down to 3 now.  Except for Outlook, all 3 come to my phone.  The first thing you need to do is list all the ways you receive info (don’t forget social media sites) in a notebook, then go on to step two.

Step 2.  See if you can eliminate any of the in-boxes.  At least see if you can forward them to one place. If there is an “extra” account that you check once in a while, see if you can go without checking it for one week.  If you can, ditch it.

Step 3.  Get rid of the junk.  Take 1 hour (preferably with wine late at night) to unsubscribe to as many non-essential emails as possible.  Put your favorite blogs in a reader, get rid of the ads coming to you, etc..  These emails are time wasters.  Get rid of them.

4.  !!!THIS IS HUGE!!!  Commit to only checking your email two times per day.  Do you sit in front of your computer and check emails as they come in?  Your day can be ruled by email that way.  I have answered email this way; it is not the way to go.  Besides, people will expect you to answer right away all the time.  Now you are in trouble!

I find 10am and 4pm to be great times to check email.  First thing in the morning is very bad.  If you have set goals for the day (I’ll post on this soon), an early morning email can ruin the entire day for you mojo-wise.  Last thing in the evening is also horrible.  Ever get that email that keeps you up all night?  Heck, you may as well have waited!  If you simply can’t manage twice a day, try only once an hour (but that is still a lot).

Turn off the email notification sound.  It draws you back in and interrupts any flow you have created.  Turn the sound off.

If you are so bold, set your email preferences to send a generated email to people saying that you check at 10 and 4 when they email you.  Even without this email notification, people will get used to you answering at your new set times.

Spend this week trying this method out.  If it works, you will be ready for the next step, which is processing your email to empty.  Below are a few posts from authors I love about this subject.  I’ll write about processing to empty soon.  Enjoy!

Email Zen: Clear Out Your Inbox

How to Check Email Twice a Day…Or Once Every 10 Days

Breaking E-mail Addiction

AwayFind Software, for the Hardcore!

 

Comments

  1. Great tips! I have multiple emails forwarding to one inbox and it definitely make life much simpler. I am not sure if I could check email only twice a day since my work is time-sensitive but that would be nice!

    • Hey Deacon: I am not sure twice a day will work for me right now either (although I have been doing it for a few days now). I processed my in-box to nothing today thus far, so I am hoping to keep that going! I have a ton of time-sensitive stuff as well. I figure if I spend 3 separate 1/2 hour periods knocking stuff out I can do this. I’ll keep you posted!

  2. I just feel blessed that I don’t have 100-200 emails coming in every day… add that to the list of reasons to stay in the classroom! :-)

    • Very good, Dave, very good! Thankfully, they aren’t all from the district. The Kinhaven emails come in fast and furious, but those are the fun ones to answer :). Thanks for reading!

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