For the past few weeks I’ve been noticing how much my concentration is being broken by email. I will admit though that emails aren’t the only cause of my momentary distractions, but I do notice how my mood may shift depending on just the subject line or the sender of an email.
I’ve heard people talk about only checking email once or twice a day, and at first I thought that was bananas. But the more I really read into it and thought about it, it makes so much sense it’s sanity.
Let me tell you about my typical workflow. My MacBook is always open of course, and I’ll have Chrome open with nothing short of 5-10 tabs. I feel like I’m better than my wife because she has at the very least 23 tabs open. Like just enough to read the first three letters of the tab like it’s a game show when selecting the right one. But let’s get back on task. So along with those apps being open, so is my email. And at any given moment an email will come in. It might be spam, it might be for an event, or one of the hundreds of email lists I’m on. Picture getting a freshly delivered email in any of my 8 inboxes throughout a 10 hour day. Yea, you get the picture now huh?
Managing my design or work sprints used to be pretty challenging, until I closed out my email. Now I will be honest with you, it wasn’t easy at first. I would go back and open it again every other hour, until stopped myself. Eventually I weened myself to only opening it 3-4 times a day and even stopped the push option on my mobile devices. On my iPhone if I want to see emails, I’ll open the app. But it won’t “ding” with a notification and neither will my laptop.
The end result? That was a boost in brain cells. At least that’s how I felt. I find myself able to start a project, and actually complete it with record time. What’s even better than that is the sensation of completion that I get after each task is done. If you’ve ever started your day with a bunch of items on your To-Do list, and you get to tick of the first one, it’s a great feeling and quickly becomes addicting. That’s what it feels like only checking email once in the morning and once in the afternoon, and leave it alone till the following morning.
If you’re still skeptical, I dare you to download our Productivity Tracker (currently in our shop for FREE) and document what you’re doing for a full day. You’ll be surprised (if you’re honest) how much time you may be wasting with emails.
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