Distraction vs Productivity: How Email is a Double-Edged Sword

email distraction productivity

Everyone wants to be recognized for their hard work. We want to prove to our bosses, coworkers, clients, and even our families that we’re competent, hard-working professionals who deserve the things we’ve earned.

But sometimes we don’t make the best decisions when it comes to our work day. This can happen in a variety of ways: we don’t eat the proper breakfast to start the day with energy, or we don’t get enough sleep the night before, or we put off that difficult project because it seems too arduous to do right now (you’ll need to get to it eventually though…)

Then there’s something we don’t really think about as being a possible detriment to our work day – email. 

While email is vital to the way we do business, not everyone utilizes email best practices, which can result in wasted time, missed opportunities, or other flubs that lessen our professional image.

Email has the potential to be a productivity distraction, which is why you should keep these 3 things in mind the next time you open your inbox.

1. It’s Not a To-Do List

When it comes to getting things done on time, one of the most important things I always tell people to remember is that email is not your to-do list. When you use email as a to-do list, it’ll distract you more than it’ll help. Too easily can an unread email accidentally get clicked as read, or grouped into a mass ‘mark as read’. Now suddenly you missed an important deadline because you mistakenly thought you were done with everything.

Email is great, but make sure you’re using it the right way. Learn how to organize your inbox properly, and it’ll be supplemental to your project management system or your to-do list – the thing that actually lets you know what you need to get done today.

2. Email is a Tool, Not a Means to an End

While email is incredibly useful to our daily work, it’s also not the end-all-be-all of your work day. Further, there are plenty of other ways to communicate with your team. If you’re sending an email the equivalent of a 4 page report, you may be hindering more than helping. The likelihood is that you could do a phone call or a zoom meeting and get answers far quicker than if you sent a long email and waited for a response.

That said, if you have an actual report, send it as an attachment. Don’t be that person that copies/pastes their report into the body of an email. It’s not only daunting to read, but makes it more difficult for someone to be able to read and edit the report, as well as share it.

3. A Time Siphon

I’ve spoken ad nauseum about how important it is to have proper inbox management to save yourself time. However, it must be repeated: email shouldn’t be eating up a significant portion of your day.

Email is a tool to help you. But if you’re spending a third to half of your work day just sifting through and reading emails, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage. You may even need to do overtime just to get through the work you were supposed to complete that day. Wouldn’t you rather be using that time to spend with your family? Meeting up with your friends? Carve out time again for your favorite hobby or sport?

Not only that, it’s far too easy to get sucked into email thread rabbit holes, or to get lost in a funny video someone sent (and that suggested video of a cat playing with string is far too enticing to say no to…)

There’s no need to stack the deck against yourself. Be smart with the way you organize and manage your inbox, and email will become a tool that actually helps you save time in your day, instead of being yet another time drain.

What Next?

If this all sounded good to you, but you’re still wondering how you can implement these tips to make you more efficient with your time, then the ARTT™ Email Productivity System is for you!

This complimentary 45-minute webinar will help you learn how to feel in control of your inbox, be more responsive to important collaborators, and reduce your anxiety and stress. Tame the Email Beast….ARTT™ demonstrates time-saving techniques within Outlook primarily; however, the concept is platform-agnostic. It’s about teaching your human habits connected to technology (whether Outlook, Gmail, or that obscure email platform you just can’t seem to part ways with). 

Register for your favorite date today and I look forward to having you at the program.

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Email Productivity with ARTT™

The ARTT™ Email Productivity Service will help you take control of your inbox and let you decide how YOU want your day to go. No more working against a never-ending email to-do list. It is time for you to master the ARTT™ of email.