As promised, I’ve been diligently tracking my email inbox checks over the past week. The experiment proved my theory correct: when I check email less frequently I get more accomplished, and I stay more on top of my inbox.
To help show my progress, I used TeuxDeux and marked my little inbox checks as I went along (which you can see in the image above are the light gray marks on each weekday).
Though most days I was on the money, yesterday I slipped and checked my inbox four times a day. Over the weekend I also had to receive and forward a few documents to different people on a work related project. But to help myself stay true to my no email intention for weekends, I had my Gmail app on my iPhone set to the search bar, not the inbox. So when I needed to see if the document I needed to forward had arrived yet, I could search by the name of the person instead of glancing at all emails in the inbox. Which was wonderful. It allowed me to do what I needed without getting wrapped up in other emails. In fact, all week my iPhone Gmail app barley got used.
Which, compared to my past email addiction, is a minor miracle.
And as I intended, I still used my inbox to write emails or respond to specific, project related emails more frequently than three times a day. But over all, the precious hours of my workday when I closed my inbox and actually worked on my business cannot be understated. I definitely accomplished much more than had I kept my inbox open all day.
If email was food, I’m all about three solid meals rather than grazing. (Super random analogy, but I like it.)
Going forward, I intend to keep true to the three daily email checks as much as possible. When I need to send a document after hours like I did this weekend, I’ll continue to use the search page on my phone rather than keep it open to the inbox. And I’ll continue to mark the email checks on my TeuxDeux list during the day to visually remind myself to stay the course. Kinda like a food journal, I suppose.
Though this method of email checking may not work for everyone, I definitely encourage anyone who thinks it might help them to try it out!
It could make a (productive) world of difference.