May 7, 2010

E-Mail Is A DISTRACTION! | Manage Your Time

Did you every stop to think that e-mail was not intended for real-time communication. Most of us think it is. When we hear that "DING" we stop whatever we are doing and rush to read and respond to the e-mail. When you need to concentrate on what you are doing, e-mail can be a real DISTRACTION. Think of it as someone walking into your office, and interrupting you to ask a question or share some gossip.The simplest way to stop e-mail from dominating your day is to simply close your e-mail software. This will be difficult for most people so I suggest you do two other things.First, turn off the "DING." If you are using Microsoft Outlook go to Tools/Options/Preferences/E-mail Options/Advanced E-mail Options and uncheck the box that says "Play a sound."Next, set up your e-mail software to check for messages once an hour. By default, Microsoft Outlook checks for e-mail every five minutes meaning you can be interrupted every five minutes, 12 times an hour, or 108 times during a 9-hour workday. If you change this setting to every 60 minutes you will only be interrupted 9 times a day instead of 108, even if you didn't take the suggestion above and turn off the "DING." If you are using Microsoft Outlook go to Tools/Options/Mail Setup/Send Receive/Schedule Automatic Send/Receive Every 60 Minutes.Give these tips a try and see if you are more productive, less stressed, and have fewer unnecessary interruptions during your day.


Anonymous said...

I agree. I used to try and set specific times to check my email throughout the day, but found that most people expect a response immediately. It is extremely distracting is a real time eater. I wish more attention would be paid to how email should really work.

Brad Friedman said...

Couldn't agree with you more. Maybe we need to think of a way to educate people about the proper uses of e-mail.

John Robinson, Hilton Head Island REALTOR said...

Thanks for the info. Unfortunately, I'm a realtor and any email is potentially a source of business. I often find myself tied to my computer and/or handheld. It would be nice not to have to rely on checking email at all times of the day!

Brad Friedman said...

John, many people are in the same situation as you. The key is to not let the e-mail take away from your ability to be productive. E-mail may be a source of business for you, but if it distracts you from doing a good job on the business you have, you will soon not have any business at all. Think about setting a schedule to look at your e-mail, so it doesn't interfere with your work. Even if you only look at your e-mail every hour, or even every half-hour, that still lets you work uninterrupted for a good period of time. Food for thought anyway. Thanks for leaving the comment.

Angela Mills said...

Um, so is it a bad thing to have it check every minute? That's what I do, but only while I'm working. Maybe I'll rethink that!

Brad Friedman said...

So, Angela, if you are checking your e-mail every minute while you are at work, how do you get your work done?

Unless your job is responding to e-mail, you might want to turn off the sound your computer makes every time an e-mail arrives and set aside specific time to read/respond to your e-mail.

My guess is that once you get over the anxiety of thinking you are missing out on something because you aren't checking your e-mail every minute, you'll find that your days a 100 times more productive.

Give it a try and check back with me to let me know how you're doing. Thanks for taking the time to leave your comment Angela.

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