Sometimes you just need to shut your email off and get things done.
Don’t get me wrong – email is a wonderful tool. I use it almost every day and can’t imagine life without it. But it’s also a major productivity and creativity killer. It’s almost impossible to focus on bigger projects if you are constantly distracted by the message that just hit your inbox. Sometimes the distraction comes from the way we’ve set up our computers – a chime or flashing message every time we get an email. But a lot of the time my distractions come from my own obsession with checking my inbox. Ever find yourself working on a project and all of the sudden checking your email like it’s some kind of subconscious decision? I know I have!
Here’s my suggestion: turn it off.
Your computer actually works without Outlook or Mac Mail open all the time! The world will be fine if you aren’t on email for a few hours. Sure, one hyperactive co-worker will probably have a melt down if they don’t get a reply instantly but, let’s be honest, that person’s going to have a daily meltdown no matter what you do! So, just turn the email program off and watch your productivity increase.
For extra credit, you can turn your work email off on your smartphone when you get home for the evening. If you think the lack of distraction will make you more productive and creative at work, imagine what it will do for your relationships at home.
Breaking free of email might just be the greatest leadership decision you can make today.