How to Check Email Less & Save Time

Email is a productivity killer. It stops you from getting things done and it wastes your time. It is often un-necessary and irrelevant. So you need to fix your email problem, check your email less, get more work done, and save yourself time.

By doing this, you will be able to work less, and get more done in the hours that you do work.

And people will want to know your secret. So here are some tips…

First, I must make this damaging admission.

I used to be the guy who would reply immediately, anytime, anywhere. I used to use a blackberry for email.

Now, no more.

In fact, I just spent 7.5 days on holiday without using the Internet. Of course, that shouldn’t be something worth bragging about, but in this day and age it is actually an accomplishment for 70% of the population.

Maybe my dad is on to something…he’s never used email…in fact, he’s never even used a computer!

So over those 7 days, I had my two assistants (one virtual assistant and my right hand man, Dan who edits all my video) take care of my email.

Anything important they put into a folder for me to review on my return. And over 7 days, that added up to about 90 emails. Just under 15 per day. And I dealt with all of those emails in less than 2 hours.

So 2 hours per week is all I need to spend on email. You probably need even less.

Yet why do we end up spending 2 hours per day, or WORSE (and I was guilty of this too), 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon – OR WORSE (and I was guilty of this TOO!!!!), 2 hours in the Morning, 2 hours in the Afternoon, AND 2 hours at night!!!?

What a waste of time. No wonder we feel like we get nowhere month by month.

Tip #1
The first thing you need to do is get some major work done before you even check your email for the first time.

Before my holiday, I’d spend a full hour writing before opening up the time-wasting dragon (i.e. my inbox).

And now that I know I can last 180 hours without checking email, I’ve been liberated and I can work for 3-4 hours before checking my email.

SECRET: You’ll probably find that less than 1% of your email is urgent or even needs a SAME-DAY response.

If it really is an emergency, put in measures so that people can call you. Not email. Emergencies shouldn’t be dealt with by email.

Tip #2
Now that you’ve pushed your email back, PUSH IT BACK SOME MORE!

If you struggle with an email addiction, than I want you to take the “no email challenge” every day. Each morning, try to wait another minute, another 5 minutes, or more, longer than you did before checking email yesterday.

Here’s why this is important…

…because all we are doing is checking email out of habit.

I learned this from Internet marketing expert, Eben Pagan in his “Get Altitude” DVD’s…

Eben Pagan says most of suffer from an OCD loop, where you check your email, check your website stats or sales, maybe check CNN or ESPN (or TSN, if you are a canuck like me), and then you start again at the top.

Email -> Stats -> Celebrity Gossip -> The Weather -> Email -> Stats -> TV Listings, Etc.

But this is clearly not productive.

We only do this because it is habit. And a bad habit at that.

So just as when you try to improve anything in life, you simply need to replace that with good habits.

You might need to go cold-turkey (like I did last week), or use what Lee Milteer calls, “a pattern interrupt”. When you find yourself doing something, interrupt yourself and tell yourself that you are not the type of person who does that. Eben even says, “slap yourself in the face if you have to!” (Not sure if he was joking or not.)

Another way to stop this is to simply get up, and walk away, slowly, from the computer.

Do whatever you need to do to get out of your OCD loop.

Fight yourself for just one more minute of REAL WORK before you open your inbox.

Heck, TURN OFF your Internet if you must.

But everyday, work to check your email less and focus on your work more.

That will free up time in your day. And your life.

It will reduce the mountains of information that can clog our brains.

Tip #3
You will also find that if you reply to fewer emails, than you will receive fewer emails.

Do not email someone unless they absolutely require a response. Keep your emails brief. Save your jokes for comedy hour.

Get to the point with all of your communications.

Tip #4
Stop answering email in/at the following places:

Bathroom stalls
Dinner tables
Your bedroom
While driving or riding a bike
In the gym
In the shower
Or while operating heavy machinery.

Those 4 tips will help you escape the mountains of emails that you find yourself buried in each day. And without that mountain resting on your shoulders, you’ll find that your productivity will triple – at least.

Stay strong, stop emailing.

Just remember – if I can do it, so can you.

Helping you make more money online,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

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Comments on How to Check Email Less & Save Time »

July 13, 2008

Keith Crovatt @ 8:01 pm

Great tips on the time sucker that email really has become. I also find that the CC: crowd copying the world to make themselves seem (if only in their minds) “busy” is equally to blame. Keep up the good work.


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July 14, 2008

James Davis @ 1:35 am

I am mad for checking email, then sales on my eShop, then Google ads then email. Thing is I actually have job as well as my online shop, so I need to change my habits today. I’ll try it out when I get to the office today. I’ll let you know how I get on.


[Reply to this] @ 8:45 am

Thanks Keith!

And James, it’s an addiction that has to end!

Just work to be a little bit better today than yesterday, and continue to improve each day. Good luck with your web shops!

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