The Focus Effect Program Home Page

KEY POINTS:

1. Email is one of the biggest culprits of distraction in the workplace.

2. Week 6 should be devoted to teaching employees email batching - allocating specific times to check emails each day.

3. By implementing email batching, you will create a culture whereby employees are focused on one task, and are no longer distracted or anxious due to the amount of emails they have to deal with.

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As was discussed in Work Mastery, the frequency with which we check email is the biggest interruption we all face at work. We feel like we must keep checking email so we stay on top of it. To deal with that, encourage employees to try email batching, which is doing emails at very specific times during the day. Instead of responding to things constantly all day long, employees can do it at very specific times. This practice allows employees to enter into a flow state and do their best work.

When encouraging employees to batch email, you must educate them on how it works. For example, if an employee starts their workday at 9:00 a.m. and they determine they need three stops during the day to do emails, maybe they work from 9:00 a.m. to 9:50 a.m. on task. Then, from 9:50 a.m. until 10:10 a.m., they spend twenty minutes cleaning up your emails. When they’re done, they will not check email again until 1:30 p.m.

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Now employees understand they’re not expected to be constantly looking for emails. They can look at their email flow during the day and ask, “How often do I need to check them? How long on average does it take me to respond to them?” Then employees can build those times into their day so they are no longer dealing with them nonstop.

By giving everyone the green light to batch their emails by setting aside particular times when they manage correspondence, you help them establish a structure that will reduce anxiety and distractions that steal focus and limit effectiveness.

People think not checking emails constantly takes great discipline, but this is not the case. It just requires some systematic processes to be put in place.