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Happy National “Avoid Your Email Day”!

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Today is quite special because it has officially become our nation’s “Avoid Your Email Day”.  So what are you waiting for? Close that inbox window and experience the freedom it brings!

Okay, so the jig is up. It’s not actually “Avoid Your Email Day”. In fact, it’s actually “April Fool’s Day”—the one day a year open and embraced for trickery beyond imagination to anyone who’s foolish enough to be captivated by it. So, did we trick you? Hopefully not.

There shouldn’t be a reason as silly as a universal day of jokes and white lies to get you to adopt a new perspective on email. The truth is, many of us are trapped in the dominating world of electronic communication where messages are immediate and responses expected to be the same. We find ourselves on the endless spiral of CLICK, REPLY, SEND. And though it may feel as if we’re making progress, we soon discover the time email correspondence takes and the concentration it breaks is more than inhibiting the rest of our workflow. Instead, what we need is to implement time in our day where we can sit quietly at our desks, work on projects that take concentration and eliminate interruptions.

Haven’t we all had the feeling of a segmented work day. You sit down at your desk and check your email. There are three new messages. It takes time to look at them and determine two are spam. The third one is good to read, containing somewhat important information, but does it warrant a reply? After analyzing that for a bit, you decide that yes, you probably should reply. So you craft your paragraph response and proofread it. Then you send off the message. Then you realize you didn’t “Reply All” so you go back and send it again. By the time this process is over, you have three more emails in your inbox. That cycle will never end!

Instead, set aside a time for email. It doesn’t matter if it’s early in the morning, after your coffee break, or toward the end of the day. Find what works best for you. But by carving out some time, you know that your mind will be focused on what you’re reading and it won’t distract from the rest of your work day. Find a process that is productive and then do the most important part: Stick to it!

managing email overload

© Flickr user Jack Shainsky

Now, before your roll your eyes and say to yourself, “Yeah, in a perfect world that will happen”, consider the fact that you (and you alone) have the power to improve your productivity growth. Sure, you may have a team of coworkers that have to be integrated into the equation, but the best way to empower others to change is to personally demonstrate good behavior. By taking the time to manage your calendar appropriately and improve your organizational productivity, you’ll have plenty of time to not only focus in on particular meetings, but more importantly, you’ll be able to reserve blocks of time to work on outstanding projects and follow-up to emails that need responses.

Don’t wait for the bottom to fall out before you consider how to improve the time spent at work. Empower yourself to become more productive through solutions that are guaranteed to have beneficial and lasting effects on your workflow. In the end, your leadership will hopefully inspire others and increase worker productivity, because they will have the hopes of achieving the same results. So go on! Take initiative. You may just spark a new, refreshing philosophy that runs wild in your office!

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