Does your email program have a default setting to check for new emails every 5 minutes? If so, you could be interrupted by email 96 times in the average work day. 96 times!!!
Does this sound familiar? You start writing a training manual and the little mail icon slides across the bottom of your screen. You minimize the manual, jump over to your inbox, read the email, decide to respond later, and go back to working on your manual.
According to recent research, it can take up to 15 minutes for your brain to pick back up where it was before the interruption. Completion of your manual is now taking longer and longer and longer. And in that 15 minutes of getting back on your path, you may have received 3 more batches of emails . . . it’s a never ending cycle.
You can change this! Use the 3 Steps of A.W.E. to be proactive!
AWARENESS – How often do you want to check your email? Checking in every 45 minutes limits your interruptions to 11 per day. Or every 2 hours – resulting in 4 interruptions. Possibly you want to check your email once in the morning and once in the afternoon. You decide what’s best for your schedule and your needs.
WORK – Create the structure to help you follow your new plan. Change the refresh setting in your email program so you aren’t distracted. Or change your “new mail” notification settings. Or close your email program completely. Or, if you need to access your email program to retrieve data or use the appointment function, choose the “work offline” option so you aren’t distracted.
EVALUATION – After a trial run, what worked? What would you like to change? Perhaps you decide to check email in the morning at 10:30am instead of 8:00am, to give you time to accomplish an important task within your first hour of arriving in your office. Or maybe you decide you need to check email every 30 minutes so you can be in touch with coworkers more consistently.
Work through this A.W.E. process a few times, keeping track of your results. Use the process that provides the best results for you. And remember, you can adjust any time: this is an evolving process, not a set-in-stone rule. As your needs change, repeat these steps of A.W.E. and adjust accordingly!
Create an efficient balance between necessary interruptions and work progress!
Now it’s your turn! How have you succeeded in reducing your email interruptions? What works best for you? Comment below and share!
And if you need a boost, a little coaching through the process may be all you need!