Smart phones have turned every idle minute into an opportunity to catch up on e-mail. But you’ve probably noticed something. Say you were in line at the bank when you started catching up on your messages, but then after your transaction’s done, you decide to sit down and finish e-mailing. Had you really intended to use that time to deal with your mail? Same goes if you’re waiting for a child or a friend to show up — how often have you made that child or friend wait so you can finish sending your message?
Start using the “doctor trick.” When doctors have one patient after another throughout the day, they don’t take every phone call as it comes in or return every call the second they see the little pink message slip. And you know this is true if you’ve ever waited for a doctor to call you back. Many doctors will wait for those little message slips to pile up, will return them during a quick break, and then will get back to business until they have time to deal with the next message pile. Sure, your doctor — as well as you — needs to deal with emergency messages as they come in, but as for the rest, just because a call or e-mail is actionable, that doesn’t mean it has to be acted on the second you receive it.
Experiment. Set aside two half-hour blocks during the day to check your messages, and you might find that you won’t be keeping people waiting and you won’t risking your life checking your messages while crossing the street. And not incidentally, only checking your e-mail during designated times does wonders for productivity in the home or office, too.
This simple strategy has been known to change people’s day-to-day lives dramatically. Leave a comment if you’ve tried this approach, or if you have a different timesaver tip you’d like to share.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons