This is a follow-up to my previous productivity tip – check your e-mail twice a day.
I hope I already convinced you in the previous tip that answering every e-mail when it arrives is a productivity drain and it's better to handle e-mail in batches – but there are two small details I left out:
- You have to check your e-mail at the same times every day (approximately, when coming back from lunch is as good as 2:43PM).
- And you have to completely forget about e-mails between e-mail checks.
Checking your e-mail at the same time is important because:
- It's easier to stick to new habits if you work them into your daily routine.
- It removes the temptation to check your e-mail now instead of later (and discovering an important message didn't arrive – so you have to check later anyway, and before you know it you're back to checking your e-mail every 5 minutes).
- It makes it clear to other people when they'll get a reply from you.
Checking you mail only twice a day at fixed times helps your productivity in two different ways, the first and obvious is that it makes handling you e-mail less disruptive and more efficient, the second, less obvious is that when people understand that it takes time to get your response they won't e-mail you if it's something they can easily do themselves.
posted @ Tuesday, February 5, 2008 12:08 PM