Turnoff the Email Notifications

Email is a great thing.  To be able to send a message instantly for free (sort of…I know there are charges for connection and data plans) is amazing.  Now we can get email anywhere we are on smartphones, tablets or any other device.  But, just because we can get a message instantly and anywhere does not mean we have to read or answer the message instantly anywhere we are.

I hear a lot of people talk about spending too much time with email.  Email is keeping them from getting value added work completed.  I spent some time looking at my own email practices and found it is very easy to get distracted by email.  It is more of a hindrance than a help at times.

How many of you have your email notification turned on, so when you get an email you get a sound, a box in the corner pops up, a light flashes on your smartphone, etc…?  I had notifications on everywhere.  Why do we have them on?  Because we want to read and answer the email as quickly as possible. Why don’t we turn off all of these audio/visual notifications?  What percent of the emails you receive truly need immediate attention?

I experimented and turned off all audio and visual notifications of email on my PC.  I turned off the audio notification on my smartphone, but left on my flashing light (which I am thinking about turning off).  Since doing this, I feel less stressed about answering email and the need to jump right on it.  I find that I am more productive also.  I am not switching between something I am working on and email constantly.  The thing I am working on has my full attention.  I concentrate on the work and get it done and then check email.  I have found that ZERO of my emails need my immediate attention.

My next step is to only open email at certain times of the day.  Currently, I open it whenever I feel like it.  Will this help me become even more productive?  I don’t know if it will, but I won’t improve if I don’t try.

If you are not in a role where email is critical (i.e. order processor receiving orders through email or something of the like), I challenge you to turn off your notifications and not read/answer emails as they come in.

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Posted on September 10, 2012, in Improvement, My Continuous Improvement, Waste and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I agree with this. In some ways, it seems a human condition to be distracted and to want those distractions, but we are all far more productive without them constantly diverting us from the more immediate work at hand.

  2. Talk about cutting the cord! I have seen some people who function purely by email and they complain about the distraction of the email pop-up notifier. But when they tell their boss they are going to check for new emails at 10, 2 , and 4 (like Dr. Pepper?), threats are made and they plug back in. I would recommend if you have that conversation with the boss, take some data with you.

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