I check my email a lot. I don’t think I’m compulsive about it, I just have Entourage and gmail open all day long and I see when something comes in. Some folks have found that they need to set their email programs to pull down new messages just once every few hours. I don’t mind saying that mine are set to check every minute. Usually I don’t find it distracting at all. When I do, I close the program.
The problem I do run into is when I get an email that I want to act on, but I’m unable to do so for a day or three. Usually I either write myself a note and get it into my follow up system, or print out the email and do the same. Occasionally, though, when I want to be really sure that I don’t drop it, or move it to the back of the ToDo list, I’ll mark the note as "unread" in my email program. This creates sufficient mental anguish for me that I take care of the email at the very next opportunity.
The reason for the anguish is that, while I don’t empty my email inbox like some people, I do process everything that comes in. Some people don’t like anything in their inbox, I just don’t like unread things in my inbox. Unread items in specific folders are fine with me, since I know they’ll get processed in due time. But I like my main inbox to contain only items that I’ve read. When there’s something in there that’s unread, I want to go read it right away. When I realize that it’s the thing that I marked unread, it drives me a little crazy and I can’t wait to get it done and mark it as read.
Weird, huh? It works great, though.