I have been focusing on time management recently, to the point where I am considering a fog-free mirror to save shaving time in the morning. And that is all well and good, but in the process I discovered much more insidious time wasters in my day, the worst of which is e-mail.

I only recently realized that I had a technological monkey on my back. As I worked, I found myself going into Outlook and clicking Send/Receive. About every five minutes. I was like a rat on a wheel, spinning and spinning, like I was waiting for lottery balls to drop. It was really quite disturbing.

Here’s the thing: if someone sends you an e-mail they don’t expect an immediate response. If they need to get your right away they will call or perhaps text. The goal is to put e-mail in its proper context.

So, in an effort to restore my sanity, I developed Bob’s Three Step E-Mail Program. Please raise your right hand and repeat after me:

  1. I, state your name, will only look at my e-mail three times per day – first thing in the morning, before lunch (say around noon) and before the end of the workday (fourish).
  2. I will delete the unnecessary ads and cc.’s immediately, and
  3. I will respond to all serious questions and comments on the spot, delete as completed and set follow up reminders (the little flag thingys) and alerts as needed.

I will report my smashing success as soon as I succeed.

In the meantime, Happy Hanukkah!