How To Do More With Less: Ignore Your Email

I hate email almost as much as I love it.

What bothers me most about email how much it can hijack the productivity of a team. One of my favorite podcasts, Manager Tools, has a lot of great podcasts on the topic. Harvard Business Review has a blog about it too, The Cost of Continuously Checking Email

HBR says that it is a good idea to turn notifications off and schedule times to check email, i.e., once in the morning, once after lunch and once in the evening. Manager Tools agrees with this, and so do I. Sometimes you MUST stare at your inbox waiting for critical messages, but I’d wager that is extremely rare. 

HBR, Manager Tools, and I also agree that it is a bad idea to stop in the middle of a project to read a new message — this could add 20-30 minutes onto your project, and throw off your daily productivity. That is merely if the message in benign. For a message that will get you fuming, it could sabotage a huge portion of your day. Do yourself a favor, save productivity time for producing and use the first, last, and middle 45 minutes of your day for email. 

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