According to McKinsey, 28% of a person’s workday is spent checking email. That’s over one-quarter of your entire business day! It’s a wonder any of us get anything done.
Other studies show 26% of employees admit email is their number one distraction. Implement these strategies to defend against email distractions:
- Invest time in 15-minute increments. According to the University of British Columbia, limiting your reading of email to three times per day reduces stress and distractions by 47%, ultimately boosting productivity and focus. When you check email, only spend 15 dedicated minutes on it at a time. Set the timer on your phone to answer as many as you can in that concentrated period of time. As a result, you’ll give email your undivided attention at specified points throughout the day. In the end, it will save you hours of scrolling and prevent distracted, half-answered emails.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel. Create custom email templates to quickly and thoughtfully respond to regular or repeated requests.
Defend Against Email Distractions
- Use the latest apps to do the work for you. Go to neen.greatideasfeed.com/extras for my favorite Attention Resources to help you implement these email defense systems:
- Unplug from the unwanted. There are apps available that will unsubscribe you from unwanted subscriptions filling up your inbox.
- Block it out. Use a distraction management app to block social media sites and incoming messages. It’s the Internet version of a Do Not Disturb sign and ideal for creating uninterrupted time.
- Create shortcuts. Smart apps create shortcuts for regularly used responses, words, and templates.
- Bounce back. A nifty app allows you to bounce emails back to yourself when you want to answer them and schedule delivery for another time.
- Leverage your out of office message. If you have an assistant, leverage your out of office message by sending email requests to your assistant. Then, invite people to contact your assistant in your absence. Be sure to provide the best contact information. Imagine what you could do with your attention if your assistant were able to handle even 25% of your inbox. Better yet, you can leverage your out of office message to generate attention and show you are being thoughtful with your response. See the examples shared in the call-out box for more.
Remember, most emails you receive are requests from people who ultimately want your time and attention to accomplish their objectives. Email is an important tool. When used well, it assists communications. If not managed, it kills productivity. Don’t be the leader who gives half-responses. Worse still, a boss who sends emails full of spelling errors or emoticons. Be an influential communicator. I challenge you to dedicate the next 24 hours to being intentional with every email response.