Emails on your computer, laptop, tablet, phone… nowadays people can get you anywhere, and more worryingly anytime. Emails and communication tools are a huge part of our live now, so it’s important to think about our relationship with them.
The Problem: Emails take over your life
There’s a big difference between feeling productive and being productive. Being always on top of your emails and checking every time one pops into your inbox is not such a good thing. Research has shown that constantly checking emails whilst working can hurt you’re IQ more than smoking cannabis…
On top of that, it kills the quality of your time and sleep. Have you ever received emails past midnight? You know you should not even check but you end up responding and eating into your sleep for something not urgent… Or ever been glued to your emails on holidays spending more time on them than having fun, to the annoyance of your family and friends…
The Plan: decide when you want to be available
Sounds simple, and it is. The key is to make this one of your Rules. After years of checking emails continuously, I decided to try different strategies for 1 week at a time:
- checking emails hourly,
- then I tried checking emails 3x per day
- then only in the evening,
- then just checking emails every 2 days…
The Result: slave to emails no more
During a full month of following my own trial and experimentation on emails, I went through many weird emotions. Initially stress about missing some crucial email, then annoyance when my will power crumbled a few times and I checked outside the times I had decided, then gradually relief once I got used to the new routine. Now I feel like I am in charge of my time!
So after 1 month of trials, I now check emails 2x per day only:
This works well for me, but might not for others. Up to you to try it out and decided. For example, I initially would also check emails first thing, for whatever had been going on in the US overnight, but I figured that no one from there would expect me to respond in the UK morning time as they’re all asleep! This also means I can spend the morning focusing on a task I have chosen with no interruptions or thoughts about what emails I had just read.