Last week, I highlighted that most of us have 16 hours in a day. (Assuming you are getting your eight hours of sleep.) How you spend that 16 hours is a key component of your health, your fitness, and your happiness. Our concierge and corporate clients are making amazing gains on controlling their day. You can too. A common challenge amongst people who can’t seem to get control of their calendar is their relationship with email.
Let’s look at how much time we all spend on email.
- Researchers say our professional lives are consumed with 28 percent of the time on email.
- 40 percent of employees wish they had less email.
- 70 percent of us check work email after 6pm.
- 58 percent respond to an email within one hour.
I see four issues with excessive email:
- Do not let it become a replacement for human contact – a phone conversation (voice to voice is a huge connector between two people!)
- It is an excuse to distract you from other work you’re avoiding.
- You don’t boundary your time on email. Hours later, you’re still answering email.
- Due to the 24/7 nature of email, we are all struggling to “disconnect.”
We’ve all done it. You sit down to answer an email you saw earlier. And…💥 it is two hours later! Where has the time gone? Maybe you “checked” email for fires to put out. Or, when you checked, you browsed. (Dangerous…) And, you maybe even answered a few.
You’ve lost two hours when you could have:
- Taken a five minute walk every 30 minutes = 20 minutes of Vitamin D and stress-reducing walking.
- Planned a meal for the next week or two.
- Unsubscribed from half of the junk you don’t read.
We all dread the morning email check. It’s when marketers know we are checking so they send emails in the middle of the night. Just deleting them takes three – four seconds. When you delete 20 of them, that is one minute. Yet, when we all see 50 of them the time adds up. Not to mention, the email that flies in during the day.
My concierge and corporate clients work through these almost “therapy” questions in our program. Many are crushing their wellness goals, just because they have tackled the beast – their calendar. They control their time; others do not. They control their wellness and are achieving unanticipated results.
First let’s look at why you are checking email when you are:
- Do you dread getting behind on email?
- Are you worried someone will email you something you are not expecting?
- Are you checking out of pure habit?
- Let’s be frank: doing distracting activities like email is still easier than the alternatives, like concentrating for several uninterrupted hours on important work (which is so rewarding!)
- Checking yet not responding is so tempting! First you can see what they say – kinda like checking others out on social media and rarely posting yourself. We all know replying to emails often requires decision making and focus.
Second, let’s review when you are checking email:
- Is it a habit first thing in the morning? Last part of the day? I do not know your bosses, or others who email you. Yet are they expecting you to check e-mail by 7am. I do have a client who must. I get it. Yet, do you?
- Are you checking multiple times each hour?
Last, when and how are you responding:
- Are you replying immediately to “check it off your list”, to impress someone with your quick response rate or because you really have a thoughtful response prepared of which you are proud?
- Instead of allowing it to become a conversation, imagine each email is an article or an important proposal. How about a cover letter to the “job of your lifetime?”
- Consider all factors and write an email that requires a short response from the recipient. Think through all factors before you send off your answer.
- Have you finished your major project(s) of the day already or are you curious about your Inbox and taking a break from completing the project?
Everyone is different. Yet, I have yet to have a client who isn’t overwhelmed with email. I am!
All of these questions, I realize, are super personal. I also realize I am not giving you all of the answers we work through in our program. Ha, it’s intentional! Contact me here for a free 30 minute phone or Zoom consult.