The morning hours have the potential to be the most productive hours of your day, but diving into your inbox can eat up all of that precious time. Not everyone can ignore their email completely, so taking a little time to sort it for later is the next best thing.
Photo by Sascha Pohflepp
For many, at least a quick scan of the inbox is needed. What if there's an emergency, or a fire that only you can put out? Still, you don't want to fall into the email rabbit hole, so Justin Pot at MakeUseOf created a system of three steps for sorting email:
- Deleting what I never, ever want to read. Newsletters, PR pitches, etc.
- Reading through everything else, archiving anything that doesn't need a response.
- Responding to all emails that require it.
My trick: I never do all three of these things at once.
Scan your email first thing in the morning and delete everything you don't want to waste your time opening. Then glance over the remainder and sort as you see fit. As you go along, note the emails that require a response and reply to them throughout the day during non-productive hours — depending on their urgency. It's tough to change an old habit, but the truth is that some email deserves your time, but most of it doesn't. If you can't ignore it all during your most productive time periods, you can at least minimise the time you give to it.