Monday, August 20, 2012

Day 30: Scheduling E-mail Times

The Task: To set a time each day to deal with e-mails efficiently.

The Why:  One of the things we are trying to accomplish this year is more intentionality in how we spend our time.  We want to be purposeful about where the minutes in our days go, and we want to be more present to those around us.

This is hard for a busy mama.  I am so accustomed to doing two or more things at once.  The problem is that my activities often suffer a little bit from not having my complete attention.  My e-mail inbox is a good example of that.

My e-mail inbox is one of the tabs set to open every time I open my browser.  Which means that even if I'm just turning on my computer to look up a recipe for dinner or check the weather report, I always have that little tab telling me whether or not there are any new e-mails to attend to.  And more often than not, there are.  But instead of waiting for a time when I can deal with the e-mail properly, I quickly skim it, and often mark it as unread so that I don't forget to deal with it later.

This is not only hugely inefficient, but also a whole lot of mind clutter!  It's like I'm inviting my work into every part of my day!

 The How: I am setting up two times a day to check my e-mail; once in the morning, and once during our afternoon quiet time.  I've removed my e-mail account from my homepage tabs, so that it no longer automatically loads when I open my browser.I have to actually go to my e-mail to check my e-mail.

This way I will only be dealing with e-mails when I have time to respond to them and archive them appropriately.

The Verdict: I already feel more free! And I believe that by scheduling times for tending to e-mails I will become better at promptly and efficiently doing so.

I considered having a third e-mail time in the evening, but I've decided that since the evening is when Luke and I spend our time together, e-mails can wait for the morning. 

And finally, I have one less thing to procrastinate with when I should be working on something else.  For example, I wrote this entire blog post without  once drifting over to my inbox... I think I just made personal history!

Do you have a scheduled e-mail time? 
We are doing one small thing (almost) every day for a year to create a simpler, quieter, more intentional life. Take a moment to read all About Us, check out The Rules of our year long project and sign up for our RSS feed or "like" us on facebook so that you can follow our journey to radical simplicity!


  1. Thanks for your blog. I'm trying to live a more simple, quiet, intentional life, too. Setting up times to use the computer instead of getting sucked into wasting hours on facebook or blogs is a major one for me. This is very inspiring!


  2. I am notoriously bad about checking my email and leaving a bunch of emails marked as new so that - in theory - I will go back and read them when I get a chance but I never do so I have been consciously making the effort to sit and read each email I am interested in during the two times of day I get to check it - once in the morning and once during quiet time in the afternoon. So far it has worked well for me. It is really nice opening my inbox and seeing just a few emails that are current and not from days, even weeks ago.

  3. I NEED to have a scheduled e-mail/blog time. I find that I spend too much time reading e-mails and looking at blogs throughout the day when I should be doing other things. I often forget to write people back or tend to things properly with the e-mails and/or am stressed about something that I can't take care of "right now". Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Funny this should be the topic today, I just set my timer to give me an hour of internet time so I don't waste so much time on the computer! I think its an ideal way to handle the email/internet! Planned time... now lets pray I stick to it!

  5. Scheduling email times! You are a genius! I'm a new reader to your blog (arrived via the housekeeping blog when I was looking for ideas on how to set up my apartment after I get married in a few months). I really appreciate what you have to say about simplicity and living more intentionally. Seriously, everything I've read on your blogs is challenging but in a freeing way. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I love this and have wanted to do this as well. I need to set up a time or two during the day. It is good to hear I am not the only one with an inbox always open. I cut facebook for spending too much time on it now I need to regulate the email. Thanks for the great posts.

    1. I cut Facebook to about a year ago. After the first month of withdrawals I don't miss it at all! I cringe when I think about how many hours I wasted on there!

  7. Love this! It just honed into whatGod is showing me, about managing my time better. I also get soooo distracted by FB and everyone else's life...see I actually just clicked over because it said I had a message/notification. It was actually nothing, but I spent 20 minutes there. grr.. I love this idea though, as it creates boundaries which are doabble:o)


  8. Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!

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