eMailoholics are people who open their emails first thing in the morning and check their emails very often during the day, every day – including weekends. Some have their emails diverted to their mobile telephones or other devices and are constantly glancing to see what the latest ‘Bleep’ has delivered. Worse still – they respond to many if not all emails immediately.
Big mistakes! But before I explain why, let me ask you a few questions.
Out of the hundreds or thousands of emails you have received in the last few months:
- How many were important and really needed your urgent and immediate attention?
- What’s the worst thing that ever happened as a result of delaying answering an important email for five or six hours?
- How many of the emails you receive are directly related to helping you achieve some of your major goals for the day or week?
- How many were really exciting – for example a huge order you had been hoping for? And even if they were – would it have mattered if you had read it a few hours later?
- How often did opening these emails distract you from a far more important task?
- How many times have you checked and opened emails, just to avoid doing something that you would rather not do – even though it had to be done or should be done? Worse still, opening them because you are not sure what else you should be doing!
- Did those questions make you question your handling of eMail?
Here is why opening emails first thing in the morning and very often during the day is a big mistake and what to do about it…
- By opening emails first thing in the morning you allow others to steal your agenda. What you had planned for the day or should have had planned, does not get started when it should have or could have.
- By opening emails frequently during the day you are distracted each time from what you are doing or should be doing. According to behavioral psychologists, it takes at least ten minutes to get completely re-focused and concentrate on what you were doing after any distraction.
Here is a simply and highly effective strategy I have taught many people in my coaching sessions. It takes a degree of discipline AND it works like magic!!!
On a single sheet of paper, in brief point form, every day …
- Have a list of the three or four key projects you are working on and especially those that will generate sales or move you towards achieving your goals for the day or the week.
- Have a list of the key things you need to do and the people you need to speak to achieve the above. You do all of these first.
- Only then do you open your emails and skim through them. Identify those that have a relevance to the above and deal with them appropriately.
- Continue with other important actions that will generate sales, move you towards achieving your goals and urgent admin.
- At 4pm or later – read the rest of your emails.
- Ruthlessly delete those that will not help you achieve your overall goals for the business.
- Respond to those that will help you achieve your goals.
Note: Most of the most successful people I know do not respond to several of my emails if they are not important to them. If they do, they are rarely long, polite replies. They are usually very brief – almost curt, but cover the relevant points accurately. I do not take offense – neither should you – neither should the sender.