Armed with the knowledge that email truly does interrupt our work, I started researching ways to manage the email avalanche. And I found some really good tips, including:
* Turn the audio “alert” off for your email program: That little “beep” or “doodoop” or “ding” immediately grabs your attention and makes you want to click to your email program, check who’s trying to contact you, and then respond.
* Likewise, turn off any pop-up screen that you’ve set to go off when emails arrive.
* Set your email program to download emails every half hour, instead of every ten minutes, five minutes, one minute or whatever other compulsive time you’ve set it to. That way, you’ll have a full half hour to work, without interruption (unless, of course, you manually click on “get mail”).
* Resist the urge to manually click on “get mail.”
* In fact, quit out of your email program to resist the urge effectively.
* When you’ve successfully tapered down to checking new email once every half hour, set your email download to every hour. Then consider setting it for every two hours (if your day’s schedule allows you to be “off line” that long — I know sometimes when I’m on deadline, or technical matters have gone awry, I need to check emails more often).
* Avoid selecting “reply all” unless the entire group on an email string truly needs to see your response. Every time you send an email, you’re inviting a response, which just invites more inbox clutter.
Stay tuned for more email management tips throughout the week!