Gaining control over email is a constant, nagging struggle for most office workers . Instead of checking it continuously throughout the day from multiple devices, schedule specific times to process what’s in your inbox. You are most efficient when you answer messages in bulk at your computer. You can more easily access files and paste links quickly via a desktop or laptop. When you take your messages head on like this, you are more focused and waste no time transitioning from one activity to another. Process your email three times a day in 30-minute increments, once in the morning, once mid-day, and once before leaving. Use a timer and when it beeps, close your email program. Outside these designated times, don’t access your inbox — from any device. Consider this an email vacation.

(Adapted from “Coping with Email Overload” by Peter Bregman, Harvard Business Review)

(This article was published on August 23, 2012)
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