Are you addicted to your email? Checking emails can be a distraction in disguise. In this episode, I share some tips that can help you change your relationship to email.
My name is Taylor Elyse Morrison, and I used to be addicted to email. My incessant email-checking started because I wanted to hear good news. I was excited to hear back about a job interview, or I wanted to see if there were any nibbles on a pitch.
Over time, email became a distraction in disguise. I wasn’t engaged in the task in front of me, so I went to my inbox in search of another task. I’d waste time responding to emails that could have waited instead of doing the impactful work that required my brainpower and energy.
It’s taken me years, but my relationship to email is in the best place it’s ever been. Keep reading to find out how you, too, can change your relationship to email, or listen to the episode above.
Delete email from your phone
Did your heart rate go up a little? That’s how I felt when someone first suggested that I delete the Gmail app from my phone. I’d convinced myself that having instant access to my inbox was a necessity. Turns out, I function just fine without it. You will too.
Try getting rid of your mail app, and see what happens. There’s always the option to log in via your browser if you absolutely need to. In my experience, those situations are few and far between. Use an incognito window if you do check email via a browser. You don’t want to make it easy for you to keep using your browser for email.
Check email at scheduled times
This has been the biggest game-changer for me. I recently started using Tempo to manage my emails. It batches my emails and releases them to me at set times each day. Before Tempo, I used Inbox When Ready. Having software to support me means that I don’t need to rely on my willpower, which is an incredible gift.
I personally check emails at 9 am, 1 pm, 5 pm, and 8 pm. Following this schedule has made it clear that most emails can wait. There’s no need to be constantly connected to your inbox.
Make your emails matter
The secret to a less cluttered inbox is making your emails matter. I’m still learning in this area, but I’ve certainly made progress. Reduce back and forth by being clear in your communication.
If you’re scheduling a meeting, share a few suggested times right off the bat. Have a call to action so people know what they’re supposed to do with your email. Do you want someone to review a project and provide feedback by a certain date? Tell them that. You might even bold or italicize your call to action to make it that much more clear.
Automate to make emails less necessary
I used to check my email constantly because some emails required me to take a certain action. I personally had to process Inner Workout’s Take Care orders, so I’d check to see if any Take Care purchases came through. This mindset fueled my email addiction.
If you notice that you have an “if this, then that” relationship to any of your emails, it’s time to consider automation. Use Canned Responses, Auto-Replies , and tools like Zapier or Microsoft Flow to help you out.
Give access outside of email
One major reason I’ve been able to step back from email is that I’ve given the right people access to me beyond email. Set an expectation for people to call, text, or ping you if there’s an urgent matter, and define what urgent means. This extra layer of support will make it less tempting to check your email outside of designated hours.
These methods have helped me overcome my email addiction, and I hope they’ll do the same for you.