We all love our tablets, our smartphones, and our laptops. We all receive too much email, and we all need to find a solution to our email problems. If you read no further, here’s the actionable message: turning off email notifications on all of your devices will be the smartest productivity decision you’ve made in a long time.
Before I started using Mail Pilot as my daily email tool, my email was in a horrible place. I was burdened by over 2,500 “unread” messages at any given time, and each additional message notification I received served as a reminder of my failure to deal with these messages.
Moreover, being notified of a message made me no more likely to act on it. Occasionally, I would read it immediately, and I would most certainly think about what I needed to do with the message, but unless it was an action that took 5 seconds, I would put it off until later. It was distracting, stressful, and counterproductive.
So I turned off that “feature”. I killed all email notifications on all of my devices (including my primary laptop). In fact, I made the decision to keep my email closed when I wasn’t directly using it. Now, I devote 10-15 minutes to email several times a day. The primary benefit has losing the constant distraction and stress of email. The secondary benefit has been seeing an immediate productivity and organizational burst with my email (this is partially due to this strategy, but mostly due to Mail Pilot).
In fact, I’ve found that by reading my email less frequently, I actually respond to messages in a more timely and effective manner.
Some people have the ability to only deal with email one or two times a day and remain effective. With my situation, it isn’t logical or effective to go to this extreme. On a normal day, I probably run an email sprint every couple of hours. It’s all about finding what works best for you.
And speaking of extremes, please do not set an auto-response that you receive too many messages and it may take a while for you to respond because you only read your email once a day. This just perpetuates the problem by creating more email for the rest of us.