Close your email program

Don’t get me wrong, email is a fantastic communication tool and I wish that everyone used email. But too often I see email as a constant distraction.

Think about this…You have Outlook open in the background and you start to do some productive work and only 5 minutes later, the new message sound goes off or alert pops up on your screen. Instant interruption. And then your brain starts to debate whether or not to check to see what the message is about. After all, it might be extremely important. So, you flip over to your email program only to find that the message didn’t require your immediate attention, or more likely, was some junk message that you immediately deleted.

The problem is now you are looking at your email inbox only to see hundreds or thousands of messages that you haven’t dealt with. Your productive time is shot because while your computer can have many programs open, your brain can only focus on one thing at a time and right now it is your email inbox. So even if you go back to what you were originally doing, you have only a few more minutes before the next email interruption.

Over the next few weeks and months, I’m going to be writing about how I’ve gotten control over my email inbox in a way that most people find completely inconceivable.

My first tip is this: Close your email program. Not permanently, but for at least two to three hours each day, don’t even have it open. No alerts, sounds, or other email distractions; you have work to do and surely it doesn’t require Outlook to be open.