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"Only someone who clearly knows their subject
can talk about it in clear, everyday language."
Sherry Wyatt

Are You Addicted to E-mail?

Tips to Gain Control

1.  Turn off your e-mail alert sound or light when you should not be distracted.   The lure of just peeking to see who is writing can cause you to have to totally refocus your thinking afterward, and will send a signal to anyone who is with you that you think your e-mail is more important than whatever is going on with them.

2.  Decide how often you are going to check your e-mail, and stick to your schedule.  You should allow time to reply or act upon those e-mails you open so that, as often as possible, you don't leave read e-mail in your in-box to have to deal with later.  Your goal when checking e-mail should be to do something with each message: answer it, forward it, file it, print it, or delete it. 

If you are expecting something important and must check your in-box between planned times, resist the temptation to open other e-mail.

3.  Combine your responses into a single message when you have received multiple messages from the same person.  Change the subject line to reflect that you are addressing all issues.

4.  Never check e-mail while in a meeting.   It is disruptive to the people around you and it is also rude to whoever is speaking.  If it absolutely can't wait, excuse yourself from the room, but understand the signal you are sending by doing so.

5.  If you find yourself checking your e-mail while you are in the middle of a phone conversation, you may need to have a serious talk with yourself about your e-mail addiction.  When doing two things at once, both will suffer.

6.  When you are writing an e-mail, ignore the new ones that pop up in your box.   Stay in the moment!

7.  If the sound "You've Got Mail" or other such signal is just too much for you, remove your temptation when you have something else that requires your attention.  You can leave your BlackBerry behind in your office while you attend a meeting, or you can leave your office to avoid your computer.  Go to an environment that will allow you to concentrate.