Can I check work e-mail once a day?

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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?



1 thought on “Can I check work e-mail once a day?”

  1. True even for those of us who don’t work in an office. Or for those of us who work in an online office! Trouble is, the current culture does its best to make us feel guilty if we don’t respond really quickly to all messages. Maybe we ought to have a new year resolution on the matter for 2018 and start pushing against the trend?!


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