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How Many Times a Day Should You Check Your E-mail?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 18, 2009

Before I give you a number, let me set the stage.

We all get more work done when we are focused and uninterrupted. An effective time management strategy is to minimize interruptions and to group like tasks.

At least one out of every two workers has their in-box open, dinging and flashing while they work. This means that the arrival of a new e-mail has the potential to interrupt focused work as many times a day as the number of messages received.

Because e-mail receipts have become one of the most prolific interrupters of the 21st century, managing the frequency with which you check your e-mail will bring great returns to your productivity. It will also reflect the strategy of grouping like tasks.

So the answer for the average business is five times a day.

That’s right, check your in-box only five times daily–first thing in the morning, mid-morning, after lunch, mid-afternoon, and end of day. Or even less if you are capable.

This works when you turn off the automatic send/receive function, allowing you up to two hours to focus on your work, rather than to be continually interrupted. It works when you group the sorting of your e-mail, making you more productive and efficient in dealing with it. And it works when you’ve shown yourself that you’ve taken control of your e-mail, not the other way around.

Marsha Egan
Reading, PA

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