I was working on a somebody’s computer this morning and their email notification kept popping up asking you to choose to go to the email or not. For one thing, that was incredibly annoying, and incredibly inefficient for another.

A little experiment
So it made me want to offer up a little experiment to show you how to get rid of the biggest time consuming and utterly destructive tool that is… email.

First, think of how often you check your email. Do you have a pop-up notification? How many of those emails would stop something critical from happening if they were not answered right away? Why is somebody writing an email if it is that critical?

“Dear You, if you don’t answer my email in 5 seconds, I will walk over there and slap your face.”

It seems like that sometimes, which is why I have all but gotten rid of email. Don’t get me wrong, it can be good if used correctly. Think about it – in years gone by, you didn’t go out to your mailbox every 5 minutes to see if you had something new and then meticulously sit down to pen a reply back. What’s a ‘mailbox’ right?

Ok, so seriously everyone, for one week try out the next two things and tell me what difference it makes in your workflow and what you’re able to get done.

Turn off Auto-notification
It’s that notice that pops up every time an email arrives. In Outlook, it’s in Tools, Options, Preferences Tab. hit the Email Options Button then hit Advanced Email Options and uncheck all the When new item arrives in my Inbox options. Dang! Not the easiest thing to get to huh.

If you’re on Gmail, kill the tab in your browser so you’re not being reminded of unread items. I would go one step further and turn off anything that has an auto-notify, Instant Messenger, Social Media, but at the very least turn off email notification. Now, notice as your mind starts to clear.

Check email once a day
This is the hardest to do. Check email once a day. I would not do it in the morning. Do it right against a hard break, like lunchtime or going home, so it helps you go through items quickly without wasting time. You don’t need to let anyone know when you check your email. If they call and ask if you received it, you can now discuss the issue over the phone and that’s one less email you have to read.

This isn’t a new idea by far, but I see email open more than any other program lately. Have you already tried steps like these? What have your results been like?


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.