Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the author’s book “Done: Time Management Strategies for Regaining Command of Your Day.”
Turn off new message alerts.
Most people visibly flinch when I suggest this. The problem is that every time a new email alert pings on your computer or smartphone, you’re yanked away from what you were just doing.
I know, I know – you can’t do your job without email. Of course you can’t. However, every time your attention is diverted by a new email alert, you become increasingly unproductive.
Be brave. Take the step. Turn off the alert and remove this self-inflicted distraction. Quiet down your space by 99 pings a day. Now, let’s find a better way to manage the inbox.
Process Email in batches.
Get outside the box – the inbox. Go to your email inbox periodically throughout the day, as regularly as necessary to remain effective and responsive.
Start by checking it every 15 minutes, and then stretch it out to 20 minutes, before finally heading out to 30 minutes. Some people have even gone a whole hour without checking their email. Imagine, an hour without checking email!