I’m Checking my Email Less

posted by Andrea | 09/8/2010

Have you ever sat down to “quickly” check your e-mail, and 2 hours later, realized you were still sitting there?

Join the club!

Maybe it’s because I have a lot going on {which is great}. Maybe it’s because the Fall is my busiest time of year {also great}. Or maybe it’s because when I see I have a bunch of blog comments, I feel compelled to read them all {hey can you blame me?} Whatever the reason, my e-mail has become a huge time suck…and it doesn’t have to be.

While I could NEVER live without email, it doesn’t need to completely ruin my feeble attempts at productivity — right?

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So for the past few days, I’ve been consciously tracking the amount of time I spend checking, reading, and responding to my email each day; the results were staggering!!

I was spending nearly 4 hours every day just on email!! {this is probably higher than normal due to the time of year} On top of those 4 hours, I also spend a bunch of time working on my bog, updating Facebook and Twitter, reading and commenting on other blogs, responding, tweeting, retweeting, etc. etc. Yikes!

I needed an e-mail intervention!

Here’s what I did:

  1. I set specific times to check email. I’ve been checking my email at 4 specific times each day — 7:30am, noon, 4:30pm, and 10:30pm (for 30 minutes each time).
  2. I delete spam and junk immediately. The first thing I do when I check my e-mail is delete anything that doesn’t need my attention. I don’t even open it. I simply scroll down my list of new message, “check” the box next to the junk, and “delete all”. This may seem harsh, but it reduces the amount of e-mails in my inbox by about 40%!
  3. I try to process all emails in one sitting. After I delete the junk, I try to open and process (file, respond, delete) as many emails as possible until my timer runs out (yes I’ve been using a timer!)
  4. I use short responses. I get a lot of very long emails that I love to read, but I don’t necessarily have the time to respond in equal length. Most of the time, I can usually respond in 2 or 3 sentences and move on. If it’s someone I know, I might just call them up instead.

So far, these simple steps have helped me cut my email time in half — giving me 2 extra hours every day!

If you are spending needless hours on your email, try implementing 1 or 2 of my ideas and see how much time you can save! Make sure to tell me how it goes!

How many times do your check your email each day?

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3 comments

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  2. Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles

    09/09/2010

    Have you been reading “The Four-Hour Work Week”?! I’m really bad at this and need an intervention, too!! Great reminder, thanks!

    [Reply]

  3. Betsy (Eco-novice)

    09/09/2010

    And turn off the automatic notification that you’ve got an email (which is very distracting while you are working on the computer). I really need to implement your suggestions.

    [Reply]