A holistic business blog by Lisa van Reeuwyk, How to tame your email & inbox once and for all

How to tame your email once and for all

Did you know that simply by placing your phone far enough away from you that you need to physically move, even just a little, will decrease your device pick-ups by 30%? The same works for email. In a study where one company suspended use of email, ideas that were once rapidly sent via email, were found not important enough to walk over to a co-workers work station to discuss.

Think about how many more photos you take with a Smart Phone in your hand with room for thousands of images, versus an old-school camera with a memory card or even film?

Here is why email steals your time to work ON the big picture

For years I’ve been sharing with clients, that your inbox and message platforms while important, derail your priorities and best intentions and here is why. Email is a senders task list for the recipient, and with minimal effort on the senders part. Just like you won’t pick up your phone if it’s more arm’s length away, people won’t share ideas when it involves effort.

In a study on removing email from workflows, data supported that overwhelmed employees found they had more time and longer blocks of time, to do focused and innovative work as tasks went way down.

Email is a symbol of stress.

Data collected in the 1960 – 1970’s showed people spent around 35% of their day seated at their desk. Fast forward to a new study tracking 750 people over one year in 2019 right before the pandemic, time spent at the desk jumped to a startling 90%. Technology, while giving us so much freedom, has also anchored us to email, messaging platforms and video chat. With my work having me in uninterrupted time with clients, this is one of my biggest lessons I share with them.

Three tips to tame the chaos of email and still rock your day

1. Schedule time for electronic communications

Love yourself enough to stop feeding the grind it out lifestyle. Another study by Gloria Mark’s team found that on average, people check email 77 times per day.

Holy guacamole, that’s a LOT of interruptions.

If we all start owning the value of our attention and time, we can lead a systemic shift in the expectation of how, where and when we spend out attention.

We give too much urgency to things and we are paying for it with our focus, mental health and overall physical well being. Start cutting back on random email checking and approach your communication with intention and respond rather than react to the emails that come in.

2. Be discerning and rock those folders

Are you clear on your deadlines and key projects? When you assess and audit what’s come at you in your inbox and weight them against the emails sliding in faster than a slot machine paying out a jackpot, it’s easy to sort them into a folder system ranking Urgent, Today, This Week and Delegate.

3. React, respond or wait it out

Once you decide you have an apex priority, you can see the illusion of priorities. When you wait until the end of the day, you can see how time sensitive data truly is.

When you wait to respond to many of the issues that land in your inbox, you’ll see how they get resolved without you spending your attention on them.

As a leader, set times during the day for meetings, communications and focused work. Provide a framework that fosters innovative ideas and creative thinking.

Whether you’re running a corporation, a small team or you’re a solopreneur, decreasing the volume of distractions will transform your life.

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