I don’t know about you but when I’m supposed to be spending quality time with my family or I’m finally taking a break from work I have a lingering anxiety or fear in the back of my head that something is pending, someone’s waiting for my response or there some sort of major change in a work contract expectation that I’m going to find once I return to my work emails. This fear has me refreshing my email on my phone regularly at all times of the day. And guys…I counted for half a day once, and lets just say…it was F-ing ridiculous!
Checking on things is totally different than actively processing them. And we should really only process things. I mean, how does it help or make me productive to see that a partner is wanting something from me, when I’m not in a space or mental place to reply or provide any feedback to them anyway? It doesn’t benefit me, or the things I’m supposed to be devoting my attention to at the time.
Let’s be real. I have 4 kids, and I wanna be present for them, (and feed them obviously). They know we work for ourselves and they are extremely patient and understanding about the fact that my phone is usually work. BUT, in a little self-evaluation I realized I check & recheck my emails way too often without even the time or intention for action! 👎🏼 Studies show that has a negative effect on overall mood, not to mention work productivity, and I’m alllllll about efficiency!
So…I like to give myself little improvement projects for my weekends, (mostly because I’m a workaholic and weekends are for myself!) Join me in this weekend’s focus to change up our “check-ins” towards working more productively. Here’s some super easy steps to make your active email processing more about moving stuff OUT of your inbox and OFF your to-do list!
- If you’re a work at home mom like me, schedule blocks of email times. For example, I have alarms set on my phone for 9:30, 12:30 and 3pm. These times are 30 minute blocks to check emails, write to-do lists for anything pending, and reply to as many as possible without veering from my email inbox. If an email comes in that requires a little project, proposal or work besides email, I add it to my list of projects, flag the email and return to it once the project necessary to clear the email is completed. (I also have a night shift of ninja-like email attacks, but I don’t this is a good place for that…)
- Turn OFF notifications for new emails. It’s hard to focus on completing a task when you know something could be delivered to your inbox that would change what you ought to be working on. All of the fear and uncertainty takes mental energy away while the watching, waiting and reading comes at the cost of your overall efficiency level.
- Don’t get caught in the “rabbit hole” of emails. I caught myself wasting hours of a work day when an email sends me to a website, that sends me to another, and on I go until I’ve ended up on Instagram completely void of where I was going in the first place meanwhile more emails have flooded in. Attack each email as a little project and figure out exactly what steps need to happen to make that project complete.
At the end of the day, I’m a “ZERO out my inbox” kinda gal. I like when there are NO red numbers over my mail app icon. But I also know that is not always possible. And if I know what the red “12” stands for in action items I’m working on, there is more mentally ease knowing I will get to those and finish them out as promised because I have a plan.
Please share any tips and tricks you use to make your email life more efficient!