You sit down to work on a blog post, but first, you open your email inbox. Your intentions are to only glance at what is there, but all of the sudden you find your entire day rearranged by your inbox.
The ebook you are an affiliate for is having a sale and you need to promote it, the forum you are on has 50 new messages, and your sister emailed to say she needs your recipe for peanut butter pie…NOW.
And your blog post doesn’t get written.
Instead, you spend all of your allotted computer time dealing with an overflowing inbox. And just like the laundry, no matter how efficient you are in deleting emails, more quickly take their place.
In John Freeman’s book, The Tyranny of Email, he makes the case that email runs our lives. And while email is not the only online thing vying for our time, it certainly does manage to dictate our day as we find ourselves addicted to checking it multiple times throughout the day and on into the night. In fact, Freeman says, “Sixty-five percent of North Americans spend more time with their computer than their spouse.”
Because our lives have become as fast-paced as our internet speed will allow, we find ourselves dealing with mounds of emails in our inbox every single day. While most people will say you should respond to an email within 24 hours, we feel pressured to respond much sooner. However, any emails that take real thought end up being set on the backburner in favor of emails that can quickly be dealt with and deleted. Thus, we create an inbox full of work.
If dealing with emails was all we had to do during the course of a day, this might not be an issue. But, most of us are homeschool moms with much more important things to do! How can we keep our inbox from running our lives?
1. Don’t start your day with email. When Amy from Blogging with Amy took this advice from Julie Morgenstern’s book, Never Check Email in the Morning, she found she was more productive when she avoided her inbox in favor of tackling the most important things on your list first.
My morning internet priority is blog post promotion. I do not look at my email until that is complete and often I choose not to look at email even then because I try to only take 15-30 minutes in the morning with the computer so I can get started with my day.
2. Give email a time slot all its own. Email does tend to get unruly very quickly. Carving out a time slot just for email can help you feel productive and in control of your inbox.
3. Unsubscribe from the unnecessary. Often our inbox is flooded with stuff we don’t need. Unsubscribe from the things that take too much of your time and change your notifications for various social media so not everything is hitting your inbox.
4. Don’t feel guilty. In a day and age far removed from the slow pace of hand written letters sent by a messenger who took weeks to bring back a reply, we often feel extremely guilty for not acting on every single email that reaches our inbox. I’m here to tell you there is no way you could ever be everything, do everything, and answer everything contained within the never-ending barrage of emails in your inbox. Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and delete.
Show that inbox who’s boss and then pick up a pen and paper and write a nice, long letter to your sister with that peanut butter pie recipe included.