Like most people, email has a tendency to take over my life. It’s how I most often communicate with people and I don’t want to miss out on what’s happening, especially if a client wants to ask my advice.
But email is the number one time killer – it will eat up your day if you’re not careful. Responding to emails as the priority means you’re responding to other people’s agendas, rather than developing your own business or doing the things which are important to you. And half the time, emails just need a quick scan and a fast “that’s fine” response.
So I changed my relationship with email and decided that I would only pick up email while I was between meetings, which, for me, means being on the bus. Travelling between meetings is dead time – I’m only staring out of the window or eavesdropping on strangers when I’m on the number 49 to Hove, so I might as well be doing something useful instead.
And it’s been great. I can catch up with what’s going on and my replies are much more brief than before, so I’m not hoovering up everyone else’s time. If it’s something complicated, checking email on my phone means that I’m much more likely to phone someone and have a real conversation.
Of course it doesn’t always work – I’m not on the bus every day for one thing but, on my other days, I’ve found that I can still free up my time for more useful and enjoyable things by only checking email at 11 am and 3 pm, rather than sporadically through the day.
Why not try taming the email beast yourself, and see if you can get a couple of extra hours per day?