I read a lot of advice on time management and am always looking for good ideas for my clients.
Something I’m not a fan of is advice to check email at specified times. Generally the suggestion is to check two or three times a day and discipline yourself to not check in between.
If you’ve read anything by me, you know I’m not big on one size fits all advice, and this one strikes me that way. I agree that many people waste time with email or feel that it controls them. So having a system to address the problem is good. But I think the advice to check a limited number of times a day puts the cart before the horse. First, you have to understand your issue with email and your needs with email.
Do you check email throughout the day as a way to avoid working? Or are you overwhelmed by the sheer amount you receive in a day?
Are you in a fast-paced business where quick response to email is key to your success? Or do you work in an office where up-to-the-minute response is not expected or required?
See my point? Each of the above situations indicate a slightly different response to email. The fast-paced business person who only checks and responds twice a day might miss opportunities.
The person who uses it as a distraction may have an underlying problem that goes beyond email. Like burned out on the job. Restricting access to email won’t address that.
Being in control of email and not letting it control you is important. But first understand the problem. Then work to find a solution.
In case you were wondering, I check email throughout the day. Processing it in short bursts works better for me and fits my personality and my business needs better than two or three marathon sessions each day.
How do you manage your email? Share your ideas and tips in the comments.