In spite of all the goodies, email is still the number one digital communication medium, especially in business and professional environments. In times of Corona and home office, it is even the only thing for many. However, depending on the communication culture of colleagues, superiors, customers and partners, the inbox of the e-mail program can become a serious productivity blocker. It doesn’t have to be.
Work off regularly
One of the best guiding principles for dealing with email is, “Do it like you eat: regular but not all the time.” What exactly is “regular” depends on the workplace. If you work directly in customer contact and email is the most important input channel, then the mailbox is always open and visible. But at most other workplaces, a rhythm between once an hour and once a day is appropriate. Then process any email that has arrived in the meantime. You can then close the mailbox again and focus on the priorities of the day. This helps in order not to give priority to the news that always seems urgent over the really important goals of the day.
For a fixed time window a week – at least one hour, preferably three at a time – you should plan complete abstinence from e-mail in order to deal with the unfinished business or to work on important things for which you need rest. During this time, you should mute all notifications to stay focused. Perhaps you can also agree with a colleague to protect each other from all disturbances for two hours a week. It works better than you might think at first, and the benefits are immense.
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