03 May Take Back Control of Your Time
Don’t answer your emails! To be specific, don’t answer them all day long. As we navigate the hybrid work model, we need to balance responsiveness with productivity. So unless your job is simply to respond to emails, develop the discipline to protect your thinking, strategizing, and executing time. Research shows, it takes 15 minutes to get your entire focus onto a project and then another 10 minutes to get into the flow. That is a very important 25-minute stretch that you don’t want to be interrupted by pinging emails. Flow is that time when your work feels effortless and time seems to fly by. But if you are checking your email 15 times a day like the average person; that is once every 32 minutes! How can you get anything other than emails done? Protecting your time to focus on your team and your projects…not just emails… is essential. Here are three tips:
- Block 3 times a day when you attend to your emails. For example at 8 am for one straight hour. Then again at 12 pm and at the end of your day. That will leave the time in between undisturbed, so you can get into the flow and do your best work, and still be available for emergencies.
- Inform the most important people in your work life about your new (or pilot) email response protocol and ask them to adhere to it. Try it for a week. As long as your team knows when you will respond, and most importantly that you WILL respond, their stress levels go down and they will honor your new schedule.
- SHUT OFF YOUR NOTIFICATIONS. Having that constant pinging is a huge distraction. It is especially distracting on virtual calls. According to a NY Times article, workers are distracted 28% of the workday! Guess what year that article was published? Tell your teams your new protocol for checking emails three times a day and if they REALLY need you they should call you. Tip: You may want to allocate a different notification sound for your boss and leave hers on
Which one of the tips above are you willing to try? How do you manage your overflowing inbox and still stay productive as a leader? Below is a super resource that productivity expert @Paula Rizzo shared on LinkedIn during an interview with @Prasanth Nair.