According to a study by Statista
- 60% check their email while watching TV
- 50% check while in bed
- 40% check while on the phone
- 35% while in the bathroom
- 28% while walking
- 27% while commuting to and from work
To say we are obsessed with email is an understatement.
The temptation to check email is understandable. Many of us need to stay updated on projects related to our work and business.
Email is seductive. It empowers us to resolve conflicts without personally confronting people. It also give us time to manage our image and control our messaging. Email keeps boredom at bay (but just barely). It’s no wonder many of us develop the habit of checking email over and over thought the day.
The problem is, doing so is a productivity killer.
How this habit hurts productivity
First, it interrupts your workflow. Each interruption forces your brain to switch tasks. Constantly switching tasks destroys your momentum.
Second, email leaves a mental footprint. Have you ever received an email that upset you? The message distracts you from focusing on other tasks.
Third, it’s easy to get sucked into it. How many times have you checked for new messages, an activity that should only take a few minutes, only to lose an entire hour responding to people?
8 Actionable Steps To Break The Email Habit
- Set a specific time of day to check your email Pick tow and treat them as appointments with yourself.
- Keep email software closed while you work. If you use a email cloud based service like Gmail do not keep it open in a browser tab.
- Turn off email notification on your phone. For many these notifications are irresistible.
- Refrain from sending unimportant email. The more you send the more you’ll receive. You’ll also earn t reputation that you always available.
- Tell others you only check email twice a day. Doing so allows you to influence their expectation regarding when they should expect a response from you.
- Identify the triggers that prompt you to compulsively check email. Do you do it when you’re bored? Are you concerned about respond late to a potential client?
- Create obstacle that make it more difficult to satisfy the triggers. Consider using browser based apps like StayFocused to block your asses to Gmail service.
- Develop alternative behaviors to replace the compulsion to check email. For example, if you check email to procrastinate, commit to breaking that habit by working immediately on the task at hand.