Ditch your Addiction to Emails in 6 Simple Steps

Email AddictionWhile email is an important addition to our lives, responding to numerous texts, spam and junk mail can quickly eat into our business day and waste valuable time. If like me, you find yourself addicted to wading through an inordinate amount of emails in your inbox; then read on as I share my six withdrawal tips to help you ditch our addiction to email.

Withdrawal Tip 1: The Power Filter

We all like to feel that we are popular and indispensable when it comes to our business but do you really need to go through hundreds of emails per day?

The truth of the matter is that those who receive tons of mail are more likely only interested in a few because the vast majority of your unsolicited mail is simply junk.  Nonetheless, if you feel the need to open every page and read through massive amounts of copy then you need to become a librarian.

Seriously, one way to avoid this massive time waster is to use a server that strictly filters all unwanted advertisements and junk mail and opt out where necessary.  I have become great friends of the “Always move to delete” button because if you do not see these emails, you will not be tempted to read them.

Withdrawal Tip 2: Self Discipline

Set aside an hour each day to read your mail; no more and no less. Others are clear they go in at 9:00am and 6:00pm because they refuse to be a slave to their inbox.

If you are too flexible in responding to your emails you will find that your clients become inflexible when you don’t respond straight away.  By being a “slave” to your email habit means that you are “mentally” not switching off and creating more imbalance in your life.  Can I share a secret with you? The world won’t come to an end if you don’t answer your emails straight away.

Don’t let your inbox control your life, it’s time to enjoy it.  No one wants to work any longer than they have to!  Switch off and go spend valuable time with family and friends.

Withdrawal Tip 3: Mobile Mania

That means avoid looking at emails on your smartphone or tablet.

In fact, you should make it a point to turn off any email notifications (unless you are waiting for an extremely important piece of information, naturally).  If you limit this access, it will be much easier to devote your mind towards really increasing your efficiency and productivity.  And the added bonus; you might be able to have a conversation without being interrupted by your ring tone!

Withdrawal Tip 4: The Pitfall of Obligation

Many feel that they are obligated to reply to every single email they receive (especially from physical contacts) due to feelings of significance or fear of failure; but lets be honest its just another time wasting exercise.  Yes, it is nice to answer back promptly, but this should be balanced against how much time it will take and the cost of your time to the business.

If you feel obligated to wade through hundreds of mail, all that will be accomplished is more time wasted, low productivity and increased levels of anxiety.  What you need to do is organise and prioritise your inbox.  Create groups and unsubscribe ruthlessly.  If you don’t, you will find yourself inundated with email “clutter” which subconsciously causes spikes in stress because you cannot manage your inbox.

Withdrawal Tip 5: Substitution

Some people are addicted to email simply because they feel that there is nothing else to occupy their time; so they spend excessive amounts of time creating, replying and reading emails.

Why not subscribe to a few blogs and keep up to date with any new information that will improve your productivity and business knowledge?  You could unplug from your inbox and develop a new habit such as exercising or reading; attending a networking event or signing up for a short course or development programme.  Either way, replacing one habit for a more positive one is a powerful habit to possess.

Withdrawal Tip 6: Close Email Tabs

If you see something in front of you, you are likely to keep checking back to see if it is updated.  This is very true in regards to email.  Once you have checked your email, close it as opposed to leaving it open in a separate tab.  You will be much less tempted to keep checking back.  I am sure that on many occasions your new message was simply spam as opposed to something important.

I hope you found these withdrawal tips helpful.  I know they can take a while to implement as you try to pull away from your inbox.  Don’t sweat it, its a natural behaviour to feel tempted to sneak a regular look at your email.

Still, learning when “enough is enough” is a great way to devote your energies into other areas of your life.