When should we check our mails, to remain productive?
Emails, one might as well say that it’s an important communication tool, especially when one is an Office Manager and one receives 200 per day. The problem being, that checking mails too often can turn into a huge waste of time and productivity, especially if you check your pro mails on your mobile, in addition to your computer. The brain has a breakdown when it has to deal with notifications, all the time. So, should one look at mails to work in a productive manner, without being overwhelmed? Find the answers in this article.
When NOT TO look at mails
When you reach the office in the morning
Looking at mails in the morning, as soon as one reaches the office, is an instinctive habit for most of us. We admit, we do this as well. We think it’s a way of improving our productivity and a way of knowing, what one has to do. The problem being, this is one of the worst ways of beginning the day.
On one hand, checking one’s mail in the morning can make you lose focus with your schedule and the tasks you had initially planned to do during the day, the ones you had set as priority, for example paying this supplier who has been cribbing for weeks.
Secondly, haven’t you sadly noticed that you spent the entire day checking and answering your mails, without actually bring really productive? When one has urgent tasks to tackle, spending time checking mails isn’t really a good idea.
When you are swamped
When one is swamped with work and deadlines are on the way, one is tempted for a little session of mail checking. We have the impression of being busy, working. But don’t be mistaken being busy doesn’t mean being productive. Checking mails can at times be an excuse we give ourselves, to feel like we are accomplishing something, which isn’t actually the case. Indeed, the fact of checking mails can be an excuse for procrastinating and not moving forward with the ongoing tasks, like this accounting file one has to finish, before the end of week and you’re appalled by this.
By trying to get away from reality, which isn’t always easy, you fall behind important and priority tasks, so close your Outlook or Gmail and focus on what’s important.
How to check your mails in a productive manner
Check mails when we are waiting for an important response
It happens to all of us, that we get stuck on a case, while waiting for an important response via mail, to help us move forward. In such a case, not checking or answering a mail quickly can trigger delays or other disasters, which are more or less serious. In such a case, it can be worthwhile, sneaking a regular peak at our inbox. But the easiest is to define special notifications in your inbox, so that you’re only notified when you receive mails from certain senders. This way, you’re notified, only when you’re waiting for an important response, and not distracted by the rest. Isn’t this practical?
Use the 2-minute rule (or even 3, or 4, but not more huh)
If you’re worried about missing out on urgent requests and angry mails from your boss, use the 2-minute rule, to check your inbox at a precise hour during the morning, which you had set in advance. It’s a simple technique: you quickly browse through your inbox and identify the mails which absolutely require an immediate response and those which are easy to answer (“Yes Jack, I received the service validation for the mindful climbing seminar”). But don’t get carried away, this doesn’t mean you must respond to all the mails you can handle in two minutes. It’s about answering important AND easy to answer mails. The rest can wait until you have some more time in hand.
Look at mails at specified hours
One of the best ways to improve productivity in terms of mail management, is to consult them at specified hours and stick to it. Just like when you set a time for a meeting, or for tea with Vicky, who wants to talk about her recent heartaches. Block a specified hour on a daily basis, to check your mails. The fact that you set a time will help you completely focus on a task: check your mails. Moreover, you’ll see that your colleagues will quickly understand your working method and adapt.
In short, don’t let your mails preside over your time and get the upper hand! Follow these tips and you’ll gain in productivity and well-being.
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