Do you regularly check your email? Well stop it. You are probably not being efficient with your time.
I heard a wonderful nugget of information about emails and thought I’d pass it on to you. “Stop checking your emails. Manage them.” Think about that for a minute. Most people have email set up on their smart phones. Like Pavlov’s dogs trained to salivate at the sound of a bell, we check out email each time the little tune or chime alerts us. Even if we are busy with other more important activities.
So throughout the day, even when we don’t have time to respond to emails, we check to see what treasure has been sent to our inbox. On the computer or smart phone, we scan the email and smile to ourselves about how important we are. Sometimes we have time to reply or delete the unneeded email message, but more often, we read the message and close the window. We might not have time to make a decision about the next step.
Do you remember how I had compared brains to a computer? We have a continuous internal dialog: I should write that down, I should read that book, I need to remember to buy laundry detergent, I need to order my son’s birthday gift, I need to talk to Nancy about carpool… Checking and scanning your emails without processing them are then added to this internal sometimes subliminal carousel of thoughts. Your mind is trying to protect you and keep everything spinning through our mind, not allowing you to forget anything. This adds more stress and decreases your ability to concentrate on the tasks at hand. It also makes it harder to make decisions while thinking of other non-essential tasks.
So what should you do? Stop checking your email throughout the day and start MANAGING your email. By this I mean have set times throughout the day that you will devote 10 to 30 minutes to read through your inbox. Delete and report spam immediately. Unsubscribe any newsletters you are not interested in any more. Read and file any emails that are just for informational purposes. If you have emails that need a response and you can make the decisions quickly, go ahead and send that off right away. If there are any emails that require research or thought before replying, put it in a folder labeled **Respond**. The stars will keep the label at the top of the list instead of alphabetized lower. Make it a point to empty this folder with responses within 24 hours.
By Managing your inbox, your brain will be freed up to make more important decisions and be more present for other activities. By systematically managing your inbox, it will stay free from spam and junk, and correspondences will be handled quickly and professionally.