Email is our main mode of communication now, it seems that most people have a tendency to stop what they were focusing on as soon as an email comes in and respond to it accordingly, all the while the sender sits impatiently waiting for a response. Remember the time when we used to send letters in the post, or wait for responses on our voice mail? Are we getting way out of control with our email expectations?
I’d say yes, since so many people just drop everything when it pings in the inbox. I’ve tackled the e-mail issue (and I do get lots of e-mail) by doing a round every morning, and after lunch. I’m following it up during the day as well, but luckily I’ve been able to shake that nasty habit of dropping everything just because of an e-mail, and that has certainly boosted my productivity. Another thing I’ve done is turned off any instant messengers that I don’t actually need for work at the moment, that’s a time and distraction saver.
How we handle our e-mail flow is a personal thing though. I tag them, and try to keep a pretty empty inbox, but that only works when I’m not crowded with work. The sad thing is that there almost always are a couple of e-mails that will be delayed, sometimes up to a week, since they take more time to process or just isn’t urgent. I tried using folders for urgent, need to read up on, personal, answer later and so on, but that soon degraded to just answering the urgent ones, which really wasn’t the whole point.
If you work online you’ll get lots of e-mail. My suggestion is that you schedule time for it. Yes, I know that won’t work for most of you, but you’ll most certainly limit the number of times you’ll be interrupted during the day just because it pings in the inbox.
My two cents. How do you tackle this issue?