Email can be a great productivity tool or it can be a huge distraction that puts others’ priorities ahead of your own and prevents you from getting important work done. This short video includes a few quick tips for keeping email from being a distraction.
Email can be a real productivity tool or a productivity killer. So, let’s talk about four ways that you can combat email as a productivity killer.
The first way is by turning off all of your email notifications. That includes the little pop-up on your desktop or laptop, as well as the alert sound that you get from your email, and also turning off those notifications on your smartphone, especially during the work day.
Second, I recommend for most people that you don’t check your email first thing in the morning. What that does, again, is put others’ priorities ahead of your own. So what I recommend you do instead is work on the item or task that you have identified to be your highest priority for the day and do that first, before checking your email. That might mean that you work on it only for an hour, and at least make some progress, and then take a break and check your email. But at least you’ll feel at the end of the day that you’ve accomplished something on your own priority list before putting those priorities of others ahead of your own.
And then schedule some time throughout the day to check your email again periodically instead of constantly checking it, maybe check it at 10 a.m. after you’ve worked for an hour, and then before lunch, maybe at 3 in the afternoon, and again before you leave for the day. This makes sure that you’re checking your email and responding to things appropriately, but also not getting distracted throughout your day.
And then finally, you want to set expectations with those who you communicate regularly, and clients. So, for example, when you first meet with a client, you might tell them that you communicate by email with clients, but you’ll get back to them within the day or within a few hours – whatever works for you – so that they know in advance that you’re not going to be always available and that they can’t expect as soon as they send you an email that you’re going to send them a response.
- Turn off those email notifications
- Don’t check email first thing in the morning
- Make sure you’re scheduling time throughout the day to check your email
- Set expectations with clients and others
More productivity videos and articles:
- How Much Should Lawyers Charge?
- Are You Distracted at Work? Close Those Open Loops!
- Choosing the Right Time for Focused Work
- Are You the Source of Your Interruptions? [video]
- Sticking to Your Communications Policies [video]
- Stop Co-Worker Interruptions [video]
- Avoiding Unplanned Phone Calls [video]
- Handling Client Interruptions [video]
- Eliminate Interruptions: The Interruptions Log [video]
- How Training Benefits Your Firm [video]