You’ve Got Mail

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Many people are easily distracted by the arrival of a new e-mail and can barely contain their excitement as the familiar alert signifies that “you have new mail”.  We fight it but the urge to immediately respond to these arrivals is very strong and, well, what harm does it do?  The bad news is that by allowing yourself to be distracted from what you were focussing on you:

  • Lose time as you have to switch off from what you are doing and then, once the distraction is dealt with, you have to re-focus on what you were previously doing
  • Give yourself a chance to procrastinate on tasks that are important but you are tempted to evade at every opportunity

How can you resolve this?  Well here is a three step plan to getting more done by managing e-mails:

  1. Switch off the incoming alerts on your email and, if possible, logoff your email application completely (if your working on a paper task then turn the PC screen off)
  2. Schedule specific blocks of time in your diary at various points during the day in which to read e-mails in your inbox
  3. During these allotted times follow these steps with each e-mail

REVIEW – Look at the e-mail and see what action needs to be taken. If it’s a very quick job just deal with it. Create two folders on your e-mail system called ACTION and READING and move each e-mail to the appropriate folder

SCHEDULE – Add the e-mails in the ACTION folder to your to-do or task list. Allocate a part of your day in your diary to read the READING file

INFORM – If necessary contact the sender and tell them what action you are going to take and when