Feel like an overwhelming part of your work day is spent reading and responding to emails? You're not alone.
Office workers check their emails an average of 11 times per hour, equaling 88 times over a normal work day. That's according to productivity expert and author Chris Bailey, who conducted a year-long research experiment to determine how people can be as productive as possible each day.
Below, Bailey, along with productivity expert Julie Morgenstern and Boomerang CEO Alex Moore, break down four simple tips that will help you better manage your inbox in 2019:
In Bailey's latest book, "Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distractions," he outlines several productivity hacks that will help you to effectively maximize your time. One of those hacks is a "five sentence rule" that he relies on to cut his email time in half.
Bailey says he only sends email responses that are no more than five sentences. For anything longer, he picks up the phone to have a conversation about the subject at hand. He says he even makes a note of this rule in his email signature which reads, "To respect your time and mine, I'm keeping every email to five sentences or less."
"I think there is a cost to email that we don't consider," he told CNBC Make It in October. "We're able to get information from other people more quickly, but at the same time it makes our relationship a bit more shallow." Since adopting this rule, Bailey says he's learned that people appreciate short, thoughtful email responses. He's even seen some of his colleagues mention their own five sentence rule in their email signatures.
Morgenstern and Moore agree that you definitely shouldn't check your email first thing in the morning.
Instead, they advise you to spend the first hour of your day completing at least one task that is critical to your performance at work. Morgenstern says every morning you should ask yourself, "If I can get one thing done that can make me the most accomplished and secure in my job, what will it be?"
She says that answering this question will help you to "organize your day and organize your approach to your day in a way that fuels your energy and brainpower, rather than stripping it."
Rather than toggling your focus between emails and work assignments, Morgenstern says you should block out certain periods of your day to focus solely on clearing out your inbox.
"You want to break the habit of doing periodic email checking," she says. "When you end up doing this all day, the other work that requires focus ends up coming home with you because you are exhausted from emails."
As a suggestion, she says you should mark your calendar with 30 to 40 minute time slots for when you will answer and respond to messages.
If you really want to get a handle on your inbox, then turning off your notifications can be a huge help. According to psychologists, email notifications are a "toxic source of stress" because they lead to continuous interruptions throughout the day.
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