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Beating Email Overwhelm

Sometimes small productivity shifts are actually huge.  That’s the case with emails. Especially now that so many people are working from home, there’s an expectation that everyone needs to respond to emails and messages immediately. That expectation of being constantly “on” is actually harming your productivity! It’s a hard one to tackle because email overwhelm […]

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Sometimes small productivity shifts are actually huge. 

That’s the case with emails. Especially now that so many people are working from home, there’s an expectation that everyone needs to respond to emails and messages immediately.

That expectation of being constantly “on” is actually harming your productivity! It’s a hard one to tackle because email overwhelm is such a big issue in the workplace and it comes from the top down! 

But it starts with you — and it’s totally possible to change your relationship with email. 

I started getting really interested in email productivity when I took a class with Prasanth Nair, inventor of the Stack Method. He is an expert in creating an organization method for tackling email overwhelm!

Having a healthy, organized approach to email lays the groundwork for more productivity and less stress. 

You can check out my full conversation with Prasanth on my new live-streaming show, Inside Scoop, here.

Here are some key takeaways: 

1. Protect your attention. 

We live in an attention economy. From tweets to kids, working from home means there are even more things vying for your attention right now. 

Prasanth explained that it takes time for you to warm up into a task. As soon as you’re distracted by an email, you need to start warming up again — and again, and again, and again. And then the day is over and you didn’t really get anything done!

How can you address this? Turn off notifications! Plan specific times to check your email. Prasanth blocks time on his calendar for this. 

2. Tackle stress.

There are so many stresses embedded in your email. This can take lots of forms, Prasanth explained. In a remote work environment, there’s the idea that you need to be constantly reachable. That’s just not true. 

Not every email or message has to be responded to immediately.

Block time on your calendar for responding to emails. Having that time will reduce the stress of checking your email and also allow you to maintain your attention. 

Prasanth suggests setting aside one hour to check emails at the beginning of the day. Then give yourself a shorter block at noon and at the end of the day. 

3. Set a good example. 

If you’re an entrepreneur or in a leadership or executive position, listen up! Responding to emails late at night or on weekends sets a bad example for your company and team. 

Prasanth frames this with an equation: productivity = work + rest. 

If you’re not resting (and you’re not giving your team time to rest), productivity is going to go down.

Prasanth encourages executives to put in place policies that protect people’s time when they’re off the clock.

That means no responding to emails on vacation! Work-life balance is so important. And it starts with email!

Here’s the full video so you can hear all of Prasanth’s wisdom. Let’s start 2021 with a healthier attitude toward email!

And for step-by-step instructions on how to get your email under control go to StackMethod.com.

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