Consumed all day by emails

Hi, this is Cyril from Work Smarter, Live Better and in this video I would like to share one little advice around Email Management. One simple thing that can really help you on how you manage this flow of things that comes every day called “email”.

A few years ago people would say to me “Cyril, the first thing I do when I come into the office is I do my email”. Now most people say to me the first thing when I wake up, the first thing when I wake up is I do my e-mail. My iPhone or my whatever phone I use is the thing I use to wake up, and of course as soon as I snooze it to turn it off, after I have it in my hand I check my e-mail. And then the other thing is they say to me “Cyril, I’ve got so many e-mails that I check email all the time. You know during the day I have to constantly jump on e-mail”. There’s a few problems here.

First is, I don’t think that’s a great thing to do first thing in the morning. I think your brain… much better to use a different thing first thing in the morning than jumping into e-mail and putting yourself in stress. I think that constantly checking during the day makes your day very fragmented, you constantly jumping on e-mail, and also quite often you check between things, you don’t have the time to really respond properly. So you look at it, it stresses you more, but you don’t do anything about it, so you procrastinate on email.

So my suggestion on this one is two e-mail batch, two e-mail batch per day. Block, let’s say half-an-hour, twice half-an-hour per day, where you put in your diary and you have two e-mail batch per day, and that’s the time you do your e-mail and outside of that, you don’t do email. So I suggest it’s not first in the morning. I don’t suggest you should do that first thing in the morning. I suggest maybe at 10 o’clock or 11 o’clock for your first batch. And let’s say 4 or 5 for your second batch.

Now, outside of that, if from time to time you check, that’s fine. What’s really important is that there are times where you’re not allowed to check, that time where you decide to focus on something, and that’s the time you don’t check your email. During your e-mail batch you’re in speed. You’re trying to do as many email as quickly as possible. But then outside of your batch you don’t look at your e-mail. Maybe a few times, but really you try to protect yourself from email.

I was doing this session with a group of managers from a large company and they are getting 300-400 emails a day. I mean it’s crazy. And one of them says “Cyril, you’re supposed to save me time and now you’re adding to my calendar two batch per day of 30 minutes. So suddenly an hour per day is gone, which is huge”. And without me saying anything, there’s another manager who says “Well actually, it doesn’t add any time because you do it anyway and you probably spend much more time”.

There’s actually a study that on average people spend between two and three hours per day, linked to email. It’s just that batching makes it much quicker. I didn’t say anything. It was just an interesting discussion with the the two and we debriefed a few weeks after, and for all of them that was a game changer. This logic of saying “I’m not going to check my email all the time, I’m going to have two batch per day and I can move my batch, but I tried to really keep my batch everyday”.

This is this week’s Work Smarter, Live Better tip. I hope it’s helpful. Simply, I’m going to your diary, book your two batch, and you can move them whether there or record meeting, that’s my tip for the week. I hope you have a lovely week until next time, you take care. Cheers! Bye.

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