by Michael Holland    

How many emails do you receive on any given day?  Formal and informal studies differ on a solid average but the range runs from 48 to 75.  The addiction to email is real.  You need to immediately respond to the ding or ring indicating a message has arrived.  For leaders today, the response is almost Pavlovian.

Take control of your time and focus.  Try time blocking your schedule for a day.  Decide what times during the day you will review, answer and compose emails.  As you plan your day, create three to four 20-minute time blocks which will be dedicated to email.  During the remainder of the day turn off your email – all devices and gadgets – removing yourself from the temptation to take a quick read.

During the non-email time, focus on other leadership work at hand.  You will likely be amazed at how well you can focus when not being interrupted with the pings, dings and rings of email.

Next question: what to do with the “found time?”   Here are a couple of ideas to help you develop your own list.

  • Drop by an employee’s workstation to have an impromptu, real time, one-on-one, in-person conversation.
  • Have lunch with an external peer.
  • Take an 18 minute walk to develop an action plan for the next 36 hours.
  • Think.  Simply use the time to think.