Seduced by “You’ve Got Mail”

As I was going through my reader yesterday, I came across this post about over checking e-mail ruining your productivity. The advent of tabbed browsing has satisfied my ADD, but I also waste so much time. I have one tab open for gmail, one for twitter, and one with my blog stats. The scenario goes something like this: I'm reading an article for class and I notice that my tab says I have one message in my inbox. I go to g-mail, probably archive it because it is most likely just some random school list serve mass e-mail. Well, I'm already checking my e-mail, might as well refresh twitter and see if anything cool is happening there. Oh, I wonder if anyone's gone to my blog in the last 5 minutes. And then, hmmmm, I've already wasted 5 minutes might as well check my reader and facebook for good measure.

Does that sound familiar to you? The time wasted from a quick change in focus due to e-mail checking can really add up during the course of the day. E-mail checking is habit forming and most of my messages aren't that important. I just like going through the motions of deleting, archiving, and sorting my mail. I often don't even care what the e-mail is about. Just having an e-mail to delete gives me a welcome distraction. Even as I write this post the corner of my eye keeps glancing at my inbox tab in anticipation of new mail! 

I would really like to make a personal challenge this week about only checking 5 times a day max. My hands are already quaking on my keyboard at the thought, but I think it would be a good experiment and add to my productivity. It usually takes me forever to respond to e-mails I actually have to deal with. Maybe having these set e-mail times will make me get to these faster instead of repeatedly putting them off because I'm always on e-mail. 

I'm thinking this for a tentative schedule: 
1. When I wake up
2. Around Lunch Time
3. Dinner Time
4. Sometime After Dinner and Before Bed
5. Before Bed

And now it's time to close my g-mail tab, and try to get something done today!

I want to know what do you think. Do you waste productive time with e-mail checking too? 

4 responses to “Seduced by “You’ve Got Mail”

  1. I check it before work, after supper and sometimes before bed, not always. Anything I’m no at all interested, I mark as spam and then go from there. The most time-consuming ones are those saying I have messages on facebook or somewhere else where I have to click the link to read the message. I don’t really send too many. I skim the list and read those from my friends first, then any that are related to my book. Jokes I’ll read and deal with if I have time, but if not, I’ll just wait until later.

  2. OMG. I check my e-mail ALL. THE. TIME. I could never give it up. It does make me soooo unproductive too! I always have my Gmail, Twitter and Facebook up.

  3. Checkout – many helpful ideas to increase productivity and save time. The founder has a book and the first chapter is how to help with e-mail. Very good book called “Upgrade your life”

  4. Wow, what a cool website upon first glance. Thanks for sharing it. I’ll have
    to check out the book. I want to start using my time better to decrease
    stress and increase time available for fun!

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