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Maintaining productivity with email


Emailing has become one of the primary modes of communication within modern organizations. Unfortunately, it is not without its faults. In particular, we have discussed in the past how checking email can be bad for your health due to the increased stress and anxiety that are associated with it. What’s more, these side effects of email aren’t helped by the expectations others place on them for a fast (almost instant message-like) turnaround. In fact, the majority of professionals respond to emails as soon as they are received.

Fortunately, there are smarter ways to approach your email checking to maximize productivity while minimizing disruption to your work. Particularly, you may be better off designating email and non-email times, even within a single hour. For example, spending 30 minutes fully focused on email and the next 30-60 minutes focused on value-added work. As explained by Fast Company:

[note color=”#B6D6F0″]

30 to 60 minutes isn’t that long to wait for a response, even to an urgent email. People are sometimes in meetings that don’t allow for responses. Or they’re grabbing coffee, talking with someone, driving somewhere, or they’re in the bathroom. There is little marginal benefit gained in guaranteeing a response within 10 minutes vs. 30.

On the other hand, having at least 30 minutes to focus on a project–with no email interruptions–allows you to get a lot done. The absence of incoming emails is one reason people get so much done on planes. Even on short flights. [/note]

For additional strategies for personal and managerial effectiveness, consider management development programs like CMA’s The Leadership Advantage.