Whenever there’s a holiday, I look forward to getting caught up in the office, simply because I know my email traffic will be significantly less. I’ve even gone so far as to schedule big projects to work on around the Fourth of July and Labor Day because I know I’ll have more time to devote. I don’t think I’m alone on this one.
Let’s admit it – when there’s less email, it’s easier to concentrate on other tasks and projects. Email interruptions, such as chimes, beeps and pop-up balloons, never seem to go away. They’re sort of like a nagging toddler who pulls at your pant leg and doesn’t stop pulling until you give them your full attention.
Although the flow of email is never-ending, you can follow these five strategies for reducing the interruption of this all-important tool:
1. Shut off all email notification sounds and symbols
This means the flashing icon in the tray of your computer, the chime that dings and drives your co-workers crazy and the obnoxious little balloon that pops up in the lower right-hand corner of your screen, begging you to click on it before it slowly fades into oblivion. Use the Settings tab of your email management program to shut these off and gain more control. In other words, put the nagging toddler in the play pen.
2.Make a quick phone call instead
When you suspect an email could turn into a lengthy exchange of six or seven emails throughout the day, pick up the phone and have a conversation in less than a few minutes. If necessary, and only if necessary, send an email recapping the discussion and any decisions made. People will thank you.
3.Institute “Email-Free Fridays”
Intel, the computer chip manufacturer, was one of the first to institute this drastic yet effective policy. Simply stated, on Fridays, don’t send email to others within your organization. Instead, get up and speak with an individual in person or talk with them via phone. You’ll realize just how much email is sent internally and you’ll get a little more exercise while also getting to know one another on a more personal level.
4. Shut off email notifications on your cell phone
They can be just as detrimental as the sounds and symbols on your desktop.