The Instant Gratification of The E-Break


This comes from an article on Fast Company written by Jane Porter…

One of the most common ways people choose to waste time is what psychologists James Baker and James Phillips call e-breaks—checking and responding to email as a way to avoid an actual task at hand. But they see these e-breaks as a form of “defensive avoidance”; not all that different from the morally substitutable acts Pychyl is interested in. According to their research, people who choose to e-break as a way to step away from their work tend to be more frequent procrastinators.

'My name is Kerry and I'm an email-aholic...'

It makes sense. If someone is inclined to check email as a break from working on another task and email is simply a click away, the chances of succumbing to distraction are far more frequent than getting up to go to the vending machine.

According to research from the University of California, Irvine

Ron Friedman, founder of the leadership consulting firm ignite80 likens compulsively checking and responding to email to dropping everything to run to the grocery store each time you discover you’re running low on an item in your cupboard. “It’s easy to see the cost of driving to the store every time we crave a bag of potato chips,” he writes in Harvard Business Review. “What is less obvious to us, however, is the cognitive price we pay each time we drop everything and switch activities to satisfy a mental craving.”

I know this already and have gotten a pretty good handle on emails, however, I have to wonder what the research says about compulsively posting a blog as a procrastination choice???

Read the full article here;


Mastering Email Productivity

A few months ago I introduced you to “The Secret Weapon” Evernotes solution to email mastery. Here are some additional tips to help you get focused with your email. The steps outlined below fit well with Evernotes process, when you look at the Focused Flow Chart For Email remember that “To Do List” and “Evernote” are the same (if you followed my earlier advice that is!)

3 Steps to Mastering Email Productivity for Your Entire Life

The concept of developing productive email habits is simple. So, we’ll jump straight to it now:

1. Set a schedule

When I first set out to make email as productive as possible, I made the mistake of simply telling myself to check email less than five times per day. I didn’t define a schedule. I ended up checking email less frequently than I normally did, but I didn’t develop the productivity that I could have developed. Thus, in order to actually make this process work, you’ll need to clearly define two times per day when you’ll check email.

Here’s the authors schedule:

Monday through Friday: 10am and 3pm (I check mine four times a day since the majority of my work communication is by email)

Weekends: Check personal email once per day, and don’t check work email at all

2. If you’ve left an item unread, you fail

Before outlining the principles of effective email use below, please understand that the key with avoiding procrastination centers on processing every single email, and taking a specific action with it. Choosing to not do anything will hurt your productivity. There are four actions that you must take when processing email:

1. Delete

2. Delegate

3. Add to your to-do list (Evernote)

4. Do it now

The action you must avoid is leaving items marked unread. If you’ve left an item unread, you fail. You’ve procrastinated.

3. The three questions

Below is the process that will allow you to conquer email, and make email a productive, swift time for getting things done.

How to Stop Getting Distracted by Emails

That’s it. It’s simple, yet takes some practice to implement effectively.

From  How to Get Focused by Scott  Scheper


How have you done at mastering your inbox?

Is your in-box zapping your productivity?

Finally a solution to the out of control inbox!

For many business owners the number of emails they receive daily consumes their time and drains their energy. Their inbox is overflowing with un-opened emails, junk mail, emails that need follow-up actions, flagged emails, funny emails, cute emails and just plain forgotten emails.

The number of organizational tips and tools they have tried and discarded nearly matches the number of emails still sitting in their in-box. I have recommended various solutions, made many suggestions and frankly, barely stopped short of offering to clear out their in-boxes for them. But then of course I realize that my in-box is sorely in need of my attention.

I have tried many email management systems looking for a solution to in-box overwhelm. Many of them started out quite promising only to end up creating a bigger in-box monster. Well persistence does pay off! Thanks to a fellow “in-box hostage”, who was happy to share, and to the creative minds at Evernote, I would like to introduce “The Secret Weapon” ( no, it’s not the delete button).

Combine the mindset of David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” with the flexibility of Evernote and you have “The Secret Weapon”! An Evernote genius came up with a way to use Evernote to clear your in-box without creating thousands of folders, millions of tags and taking hours and hours out of your day. Better yet they put together a series of “How to” videos to walk you through the process of setting up your Evernote and they even explain the why behind the science, well okay, maybe it’s not science exactly but it is a great discovery!

I have found the system to be practical, simple, sustainable and intuitive to follow. And it didn’t take three months to see the benefits which go beyond the inbox and reins in your “to do lists”. Yes I said lists, plural, the list monster is a close relative of the in-box monster!

To discover how to tame your in-box monster and increase your productivity just follow the link below to watch the short how to videos. I used them to take me step by step through the set up process, very helpful.

The Secret Weapon: Evernote and GTD smoothly integrated into TSW
Email + Evernote + GTD: A no bs approach to personal productivity.

When you’re up and running send me a note to let me know what you think and how “The Secret Weapon” has helped you get more productive.