Monday, December 6, 2010

Turn Off Automatic Notifications and Set Aside "Email" Time - Part 3 in a Series

Email IconImage via WikipediaHow did your first day go of writing great subject lines? I had one person response with "Well done" to my explanation of email changes and (EOM) protocol. One person asked what (EOM) meant and I was happy to explain! They liked the idea! On a personal note, I found that sending messages with great subject lines and the (EOM) protocol saved me TONS of time. In one day, I noticed that MOST of my outgoing emails could be handled in the subject line! That was a bonus I was not expecting!

Today's step in mastering the email chaos that we have is one that will take a minute to complete but should result in greater control of time spent on email and a sense that your email burden has been reduced. So, today's step is to:

Turn Off Your Automatic Notification

Instead, set aside specific times of the day to work on your email.  If you are a teacher, this only makes sense.  Honestly, if you are teaching students, that is an activity that requires your full attention.  And, I bet some of you have been presenting in class with an LCD Projector and had an email notification pop-up for the entire class to see.  Since some of the emails we receive are sensitive in nature, the pop-up is not a great idea in general.

Instead, use the times that make sense for your emails such as your conference period and your before- and after-school time when you are at school but students are not in class. This doesn't mean you will never look at your emails at other times but YOU will now control when time is spent on email instead of the notifier controlling you.

And, it goes without saying, dedicated time spent on email is bound to be more efficient and productive.  Chances are you will get through your inbox quicker than you did previously.  Actually, it makes sense that you must have felt you were constantly reading and answering emails if you did so based on the notifier's call.  So, put an end to it and control your time spent on email.

Now, just a word to address those positions where this isn't feasible.  For instance, as a Computer Technology Integration Specialist, I need to be checking my email frequently.  However, I still need to separate that time from the time when I have students or teachers in my classroom because they should be my number one priority at that time.  So, if your job requirements differ, that is fine.  But, turning off the notification will still give control of your email environment back to where it you!

Now, it's important for me to say....please still continue to focus on writing great subject lines!  Each of these steps builds on the previous step so don't stop with those efficient subject lines! 

Finally, I'm including the link to the steps for turning off automatic notification in Outlook 2007.   Here's the easy-to-follow how to:

So, what do you think?  Will you give it a try?  Will you turn off your notifications for 30 days to see if it helps in gaining control of your email?
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