Here’s the scene: you’re at your computer and you know what you want to work on next and you’re going to start it when you notice you have new email! Well, better go and check that. Oh, and it’s something you can handle now – so you do. And then you remember something you should check on… Pretty soon an hour (or two) has gone by and now you’re trying to figure out what it was you were originally going to work on.
Sound familiar? Everybody has had days like this. Jumping from one thing to another and getting things done, but they aren’t the things that you wanted to get done. And they might not be the things that are really important to get done.
So, how do we avoid this all too common situation? Well, I have a few tips.
- Get more sleep. When we don’t get enough sleep we have problems focusing and our overall productivity goes down – basically we have problems concentrating.
- Check email only at certain times. Pick two or three times throughout your day to check your email and stick to it!
- Set a time limit. When you do check your email, decide how long you’re going to spend with it. Set a timer if you want to, it will help you stay on track.
- Set up filters. Set up filters that send newsletters or unimportant emails into a different folder. Generally newsletters come from a specific address, making them easy to sort out. Also, set up a time at the end of the week to go through this folder (give yourself a time limit). Anything that you don’t have time for, delete! And you’ll probably notice two things (1) you’re regularly deleting the emails from the same person/company each week or (2) you have no idea who this person/company is. In either case, you can unsubscribe from their list.
- Close your email program. The emails will still be there later, I promise. I knowthis one can be hard! But it makes it a little harder to just go and check your email quickly – which can be just enough to discourage a quick email check.
Try one of these tips and let me know your results!