What would you do with an extra hour each day? You could learn a new language, enroll and attend a university course, take your kids to karate or ballet, or even just sit quietly with a book after your kids have gone to bed.
You’re probably always connected to your i-phone, i-pad, or laptop like most people. But have you ever realized how much time, energy and attention they get from you, especially email. Email can be a great tool, for communicating quickly and really not too many people could live without it, but it can take away a lot of time throughout the day.
Below are some tips to help you get off the email crack pipe.
1. Check Email Only Twice a Day – This may seem a bit extreme but it’s not. Think about it, when you check email you may spend a lot of time answering all the 200 emails you receive and try to take action. So, pick two times during the day when you will check email diligently. My two times are mid morning (about 11AM and mid afternoon (about 4PM). But a word of caution, don’t check your email first thing in the morning, this can throw your entire day off. Save that time thing in the early morning to finish the those tasks that you need to complete for that day before your mind and time get consumed with whatever you find in your inbox. This alone can save you an hour a day.
2. Respond immediately to the Certain Emails- if you have an answer for an email, send it at that very moment, don’t wait until later. If you can take care of it in two minutes or less do it- then move on to more important tasks.
3. Set a time and action for the emails that require more time and research – This means that you cannot take care of all emails at once, some will require some follow up and research. So, set a time in your calendar to take of this email, and add an action that you have to take to resolve it. Try to be specific, for example, don’t write for your action, “Email Dave with Response,” instead write something more action specific like “Tell Dave answer after speaking with John on Monday.” A very specific action will require you to actually do something not just answer an email.
4. Delete all the junk mail at once – I know it is boring and time consuming but the alternative is far worse. Because you know that after three days of seeing crap in your inbox you will get fed up and delete everything, so if something is crap then delete it right away and forget about it. If it’s out of your sight, it’s out of your mind. If you need to keep your emails for CYA (cover your ass) purposed, move them out of site to an archive file.
5. Set a time to check Social Media – I know it is fun to check these things, I do it and it’s OK to check them and browse them once in a while during the day. But think about it, it’s kind of a waste of time when you know there are other more important things that need your time and focus. The temptation is there, so just pick a time during the day when you will give in to this social media temptation. I usually do it after dinner, when my kids are watching TV or in their own ipad, and I can just chill in online life -try it with a cup of wine or hot cocoa, it is awesome.
Finally, remember that just because we have all this technology and access any time all the time, it does not mean we have to be connected or checking something all the time at all times. Remember you are in control not your iphone, at least not yet!