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What I learned by taking a month-long break from email

Email is addictive

According to a 2018 survey, the average creative professional spends 5.6 hours per day checking email.

Once you make up your mind to make the mail app less accessible, it is much easier to give up email. Leave the phone outside the bedroom to help build resilience to the email habit.

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What I learned by taking a month-long break from email

What I learned by taking a month-long break from email

https://www.fastcompany.com/90296936/lessons-from-not-checking-my-email-messages-for-a-month

fastcompany.com

7

Key Ideas

The email hibernation experiment

The email experiment works as follows:

  • No logging in to any primary email accounts for the entire month.
  • Setting up automatic forwarding to an assistant to ensure nothing urgent falls through the cracks.
  • Setting up an auto-reply explaining the reason for the email sabbatical, the period, and ways to connect during this time.

Email is addictive

According to a 2018 survey, the average creative professional spends 5.6 hours per day checking email.

Once you make up your mind to make the mail app less accessible, it is much easier to give up email. Leave the phone outside the bedroom to help build resilience to the email habit.

Most emails aren't important

Most emails are of little value. We often remember the extraordinary, like the once-in-a-lifetime invitation, but not the ordinary - that possibly only three percent of emails are worth reading.

People's reaction

We often impose an unhealthy expectation on ourselves to respond to every email immediately.
Except for work assignments, this is unnecessary. Many people will applaud you for taking a break and find your decision inspiring.

Email makes us more passive

We expect information to come to us, rather than proactively seeking it out

Our news email means we don't have to search it out. Our event invites mean we don't have to look into what's happening. While it is convenient, we are conditioned to become lazier.

Email as an all-in-one utility

There are so many things funneling back to email.

Without email, it can be difficult to check a doctor's appointment, RSVP to party invites, or access your bill history. Email can be a nightmare if you're trying to create boundaries.

A periodic sabbatical

Spending a month away from email can help you question your default distractions.
Without email, you have to find other stuff to do while riding on the subway or waiting in line. Then you may realize that self-importance and the sense of urgency are not important.

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Empty your inbox daily

  • Do. If the email is actionable and takes under two minutes, then do the task ASAP.
  • Delegate. Forward the right tasks to the right people.
  • Defer. Reply to the message at a better time.
  • Delete emails that are not important or that you can delegate. 
  • File. Add messages that contain information you will need to your archives.

Stop CC’ing everyone

To avoid filling the email box of staff members, only CC the relevant parties. Ask your team to respond to you individually instead of using the reply-to-all button.

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Denying you have a problem

Stop saying that you don't have enough time to complete your commitments.

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Not planning your day

It's important to have an idea of what your daily priorities are and tasks you need to complete, preferably the night before. 

Also, make sure you prepare in the evening the outfit you're going to wear and the meals for the following day. Doing this will save time in the morning, and reduce decision fatigue.

"Urgent" vs "Important"

Take all of your tasks and place them into four quadrants:

  • To do first: the most important responsibilities that need to be done today or tomorrow.
  • Schedule: important tasks that are not urgent.
  • Delegate: essential items that are not important.
  • Don't do: tasks that aren't important or urgent. 

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4 Methods For Email Management On A Phone

  1. When you are walking or driving, use apps like Talkler to read your email to you and be able to reply with voice messages or delete emails.
  2. Trying to read email whil...