Why Email Interruptions Are Such A 'Killer'

Most of us are aware that constant email interruptions at work are a ‘pain’ and prevent us from getting things done. However, most of us ‘put up’ with them, accept them as a nuisance and just ‘part of the territory’ in a busy workplace.  

What most are not aware of is just how much time we lose to these interruptions - it adds up enormously and actually costs us our ‘life’. Ask yourself how much of your life you spend ‘after hours’ catching up with work wasn’t completed during work hours due to interruptions (many of them from email)! 

Even worse, we are often unaware of just how much additional time is lost AFTER we’ve dealt with the interruption, trying to get back ‘on track’ mentally with what we were doing before the interruption. This ‘recovery’ time is often far longer than the time lost to the actual interruption!

Research shows interruptions plus recovery time add up to 28% of the day. And most of these interruptions are neither urgent or important! That's just way too much time to lose in one day, let alone every day! 

So what can we do about it? 

The answer is to simply turn off all the email alerts. That way, email still arrives but you are blissfully ignorant of exactly when it arrives. If you schedule to check email 3 or 4 times a day, these messages will have accumulated in your inbox and you can go through them in a focused block of time making decisions about the appropriate NEXT action(s) you need to take for each message.  

What's more, the quality of your thinking, decision-making and response messages will be significantly better when you have given the email messages your full attention in a scheduled block of time, rather than in a distracted manner 'on the run' when their arrival has interrupted you from some other task. 

In fact, these days email is so important that we must address it with our full attention! 

Just watch this short video showing you how to turn off alerts in Outlook 2007 or Outlook 2010 

I hope this works well for you. Let me know of your experience after trying this (use the comments section). 

All the best,

Steuart

Steuart