The February Email Experiment

This February, I’m going to stop checking my email.

Yep. You read that right.

Checking my email has become an incredibly habitual and highly reactive time-suck. What should be a tool for facilitating my productivity, has fostered a mindset of prioritizing the urgent over the important, a hazardous way for me to approach my workday as a manager, leader and business owner.

So, this month, I will only review – not check – my email twice a day. Once in the morning and once in the evening before I leave. During these reviews, I’ll dedicate one Pomodoro session (25 minutes) to sort, read and prioritize through new messages and respond to those that I can’t or shouldn’t delegate.

Email is still going to be a part of my day. It just won’t be the first and last thing I look at every single day. I won’t allow it to pull my attention from in-person interactions. And, most importantly, I won’t allow it to disrupt my productivity with its tantalizing ding of new messages.

This experiment is only possible thanks to the A&A team. They won’t be joining me on this experiment, because we still want to provide remarkable support to our clients’ requests. But, hopefully, I’ll uncover some insights that can inform our team’s habits and minimize – or kill – the reactionary workflow we so naturally fall into.

I plan to blog about the experiment, assuming there’s anything worth writing home about, so I invite you to follow along. More importantly, I’d like to invite you join me in this experiment. It’s only 29 days (thanks Leap Year). It’s way less painful than Whole 30. And, if nothing else, your phone’s battery should last way longer.

Is there anything I should be on the lookout for as I attempt this? Any challenges you foresee that could derail me? Any tips for ensuring my success?

Here’s to a productive February!

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  • Cindy February 17, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    Hi Todd: Thoroughly enjoyed the emcee bit this morning! I read something recently about limiting the email check-ins to twice daily. Unfortunately, at this point, I am “it” in the office, so it has to be more frequent than that for me. However, even that helped me to be able to focus on a task and leave the email alone for an hour or two. One thing that was suggested (sounds like you have it covered, but…) was to notify those you are used to communicating frequently with that you will be checking emails at certain times. You can either do it with a preemptive email blast or an “OOO” reply. Then, you can suggest that if it is urgent, what other ways they need to use to contact you. (OR NOT! lol) But, encouraging people to simply be patient and help you be more productive can also work. Anyway.. May the force be with you. 😉