Think you could live without e-mail for a day? How about a month? Studies show that an e-mail interruption on the job can distract you from your tasks by an average of 15-minutes! Workers waste so much productivity surfing their “in box”, that some companies now schedule e-mail “detox” days – where NO ONE is allowed to click Send or Reply for an entire day! But Katie Goodman – a columnist for Oprah’s O Magazine – went email free for an entire month! Here are her tips to help curb your compulsion to e-mail:
- The first thing to do: Contain your addiction. Goodman says you should limit your e-mail reading to certain times of the day. DON’T leap every time you hear a new message arrive. Whatever you do: Don’t check e-mail the first thing in the morning. You’ll only get distracted, and lose track of time. Instead, you should start the morning by doing your toughest task. Because morning is when your brain is primed to handle challenges and complex thinking.
- Then ask yourself: What’s the worst that could happen if you don’t answer e-mail? Try only dealing with the most important messages and see what happens if you don’t respond to EVERY SINGLE one. Chances are most of your e-mail is unnecessary to begin with.
- WAIT before you respond to sensitive e-mail. More questions to ask yourself: – Can a phone call solve this faster? Is a friend reaching out to you because they’re in-need. or just needy? Does everyone really need to weigh in on a mass e-mail?
- Then, if you do reply: Don’t multi-task! Stay focused on what you write because research shows that 60% of business e-mail contains at least one error in spelling or grammar.
- Take advantage of your auto-reply feature. That’s how Goodman managed to go e-mail free for 30 whole days! She set up an outgoing message alerting people that she’d be unreachable online and gave her cell phone number as a way to reach her instead. Goodman found that most e-mail communication only creates MORE e-mail. When given the choice between calling her, or solving a problem on their own, most people chose to not bother her at all!