Create Margin: Take Control of Your Email

I used to have an issue with notifications and email overload. The problem was I had enabled notfications for all email. In my work as a graphic designer I had multiple email adresses and all of them were able to send me an instant notification every time a message arrived. Can you see why this would be an issue? 

I was basically on-call to my clients 24-7.

Not a smart move. If you can identify with this scenario I’d like to share a couple of steps I took to curb the notification overload and how I built more margin and family time as a result.

1) Turn all notifications off on your smartphone

The modern smartphone is one of the world’s greatest inventions. Our computing capacity has shrunk to the point that powerful devices reside in our pockets and make us capable of incredible productivity. 

But when your email notifications are enabled the smartphone can become the bane of the existence of margin. The more notifications and email to read and reply, the less margin you’ll have. I turned off all notifications of email and immediately felt less guilty about not replying to emails and more margin for my family in the evenings. 

Try it. Turn off the notifications. Say yes to more margin.

2) Check email twice a day 

Concurrent to the stopping of email notifications was the decision to check email two times a day. In the mornings when sitting down to work and in the afternoon after lunch are the times I’ve set aside to read and answer emails. Making a conscious decision to keep email to the mornings and afternoon has further alleviated any “reply-guilt” and helped me to own my email time and communicate that to others. 

Try it. Tomorrow only check your email twice a day; and do it while at work. 

Question: Do you feel “reply-guilt”?