Email Productivity

May 20th, 2009
[ Geek ]

A quick update on my attempts to keep email at bay. I can’t say I’m doing an excellent job of only checking email twice per day but I’m making a worthy effort. The main issues I keep running into is drafting emails effectively.

I still need to write emails, however, I don’t want to send them. The reason I want to wait to send is that if I’m sending emails throughout the day, it sets the expectation that I’m checking email and therefore ignoring responses. It’s difficult with most email clients to compose drafts without catching a glimpse of your inbox and having it’s unread total scream out at you for your valuable attention. If someone knows a simple way to write drafts, for sending later, without having to interact directly with your email client, let me know. I’m using plain old text files and cut and paste today, which is a pain.

Even if you’re not attempting to reduce how often you check email, here’s one tip I have for you. It’s not my tip, I’m sure I heard it from somewhere else. Never check email to start your day. We all do this. We start every freakin day by catching up on email. Subsequently we get lost in email hell until our stomachs remind us we’ve missed lunch and over 1/2 a day of actual work. Just try this, close your email client at the end of the day, then start everyday by tackling a real task BEFORE you even open your email client. Just try it, you’ll like it.

Just a note, I include twitter, facebook, laconica and other forms of messaging, networking, etc under this “email” category. The interesting thing that happens when you ball all these apps up and only check them twice a day is you quickly realize how much time they take to nurture and feed. You need to decide if they’re worth it to you personally.

If this topic sounds new and you’re looking for background, try this.

  • http://unhub.com/fnthawar Farhan Thawar

    Using Outlook? Very easy to write a rule that sends email later…..

    I find timeboxing is the key… i.e. only check email for 30 minutes twice a day… and only check FB/Twitter/etc. at specified intervals

  • brydon

    Outlook isn’t an option on the OS’s I use. It’s less about the rule then getting dragged back into the client. It’s likely just an issue of plain old willpower for me.