Do you ever feel swamped by your emails? It seems like we are constantly being bombarded by little messages popping into our inbox, the ever present musical tone alerting us to yet another thing that needs our attention.
It’s actually very detrimental to our level of work efficiency and productivity.
Studies have shown that if we are repeatedly being distracted from our current task at hand to check and reply to emails, our efficiency levels lower, our quality of work suffers and (no note on whether this has been studied quantitatively) it gets really irritating!
So how do we get past this modern-day issue?
Avoid Emails First Thing
Some people refrain from checking their email first thing in the morning. Instead, they start immediately working on their most pressing tasks and once those are finished, then they check their inbox. Other people check their inbox only at set times.
Schedule An Automatic Reply
I emailed a colleague recently and immediately got an automatic response back which read:
I check my inbox daily at 10:30am, 1pm and 3pm. If you require an urgent response please call me on _________
Brilliant! An automatic reply to all emails and set times to check the inbox!
The Golden 5 Minute Rule
Of course, these techniques don’t work for everybody and that’s where the 5-minute rule comes into play. It’s so simple! All you have to do is wait 5 minutes before replying, no matter how urgent it is.
At the end of the day, an extremely important email will require you to spend a good few minutes digesting and unpacking the information in it before you can reply. A hastily typed and sent response is never going to be your best work.