7 Reasons to Keep the Inbox Empty – Part 6

#6: Avoids being interrupted by new messages

Today’s blog post is the sixth in a series of 7 Reasons to Keep the Inbox Empty.

Let’s face it, so much of your work these days come in via the inbox. And when you have lots of messages sitting in the in-box, you tend to spend large amounts of time based in your inbox.

But being inbox-based makes it very easy to be interrupted by new, incoming e-mail. These interruptions distract you from the task at hand, dilute your focus, fracture your attention and cause you to start multi-tasking (which makes you even more unproductive).

This is made even worse if you also get an alert every time a new message arrives -  a ’ding’, the little yellow envelope and/or the ‘pop up’ in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.

So, here are three quick ideas to avoid being interrupted by new e-mail;

1. Simply turn off all your e-mail alerts (click here to find out how)

2. Even better, when working on the computer, base your work on what is in your calendar (or task list), instead of in the inbox. This allows you to stay focused on the task at hand which maximises your time, attention and energy so that you are able to complete tasks and activities quicker (and to a higher standard).

3. When processing e-mail, use the 4D methodology to handle each message only once, leaving your inbox empty after each visit. Most importantly, convert those emails which involve a task into a calendar item so that when you come back to work on them, you’re doing so in the calendar rather than the inbox. What’s more, you can reply to or forward an e-mail from within your calendar item without having to go to the inbox (and risk being distracted by new messages).

Why not try these ideas today and see for yourself what a difference it makes!

All the best,

Steuart Snooks