For those of us who work in an office or in a field that requires the use of e-mail or some other type of messaging system such as Slack or Skype, checking e-mail has become not just a task but a consumer of much of our valuable work time.
Just think about this for a moment: How much time do you think you spend reading and responding to e-mails during the day? Checking the computer to see if you have new e-mails? Checking your phone for e-mails, text messages, or notifications? Chances are, you’re wasting a lot more time than you might realize.
According to a survey conducted by Carleton University, workers spend an average of over 2 hours a day on e-mail alone. Now, honestly, are you actually accomplishing anything by reading and responding to all these e-mails?
I took a look at my own work e-mail inbox. I receive, on average, 20 e-mails a day. Most of the time, I’m reading and responding to e-mails as they come in, like most of us. But what if I only checked my e-mail once a day? Twice?
Looking back through the e-mails I received, only one or two of them needed a timely response. If I were to check my e-mail even twice a day—once in the morning and once in the afternoon—I would still be able to respond to those messages. Think about it: if there is a true emergency (a fire alarm, a colleague who needs to speak with me), either someone is going to come find me or I’m going to find them. In person.
Sure, e-mail is convenient and useful on a daily basis. But is it worth sacrificing a fourth of your work week for?