Manage Your Time – Navigating Email

April 4, 2020

If you’re struggling to work from home, you’re not alone. Previously, many of us may have thought about how nice working from home might be—we can get our work done, have ultimate flexibility, and also push forward some of the more mundane aspects of living like laundry while taking our lunch break.

However, many of us now find that working from home feels quite different than how we had imagined it would. To be fair, working from home right now among the COVID-19 reality has placed extra strain on us ranging from financial, psychological, and health-related concerns about the future and keeping our loved ones safe, to perhaps juggling childcare responsibilities. Yes, much is different, but as I suggested previously, our ability to thrive in these challenging times depends on our ability to create a new normal.

In this four-part series focused on time management and work productivity in our new reality, I share some practical advice on how to better lead ourselves through structuring our day to feel better, work more effectively, and adjust to our new reality by actively designing our new reality rather than feeling that the new reality is designing us. In part one of this blog series, I tackle one of the most detrimental aspects of our productivity in our modern work environment—email. While we are busy creating new routines due to COVID-19, there is no better time to create new structures around our email habits!

Being Managed By Our Email

Many of us actively check our email multiple times per hour, or perhaps we more passively have email open on one screen or tab while doing other tasks at the same time. But even in this second scenario we likely find ourselves flipping back and forth between screens or tabs multiple times per hour as we mindlessly check to see if any new emails have arrived.

Before we laugh this off and continue checking our email with the same level of frequency, let’s take a moment to consider why we might be checking our email so many times per hour in the first place. At the root, there are likely four interrelated reasons that reinforce each other and lead to an almost uncontrollable urge to micromanage our inbox:

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