People are always shocked when I share this one statistic that I highlight in More Sales, Less Time. And they should be.
But first, a question for you: How often do you quickly check out a new message as soon as it arrives in your in-box?
When you get an alert, do you pop over to your email for a quick look-see? No big deal, right?
Wrong! It is a big deal. That's why I'm trying to shed a little light on this topic right now.
Here's the statistic: According to sociologist Judy Wajcman, 70 percent of emails received are attended to within six seconds of arrival in our in-box.
We feel compelled to check it out. We're addicted to our email. We don't want to miss anything—especially a message from a very important prospect.
So why is it such a big deal? Let's add in this statistic from Jonathan Spira, author of Overload—A person's recovery time from any interruption is 10-20 times the length of the interruption.
Now let's extrapolate and see what it might mean for you. Say you check email every ten minutes, six times per hour. And it take you only 30 seconds to do a quick read before you get back to work.
So, assuming your recovery time is only 10 times the length of the interruption, here's what you get.
30 seconds x10 = 300 seconds (5 minutes)
x six checks/hour = 30 minutes of distraction
When you're distracted, you can't do your best job. It's impossible. Your brain is not functioning at full capacity. You're less creative. You come up with weaker, triter strategies. You get stumped easier. You're less able to adjust to changes. (That's not just me who's saying this. Neuroscientists agree.)
Plus, everything takes longer too. A whole lot longer. Maybe a whole hour or two per day longer.
In today's business environment, if we're operating in distraction mode, we're not at the top of our game. I know I can't afford that. I suspect it's a challenge for you too.
What's the answer? It's simple. Do these two things:
1. Turn off email notifications on all your devices. Quite simply, remove the temptation. If you don't know you have a new message in your in-box, you won't have an urge to go off-task.
2. Check email only at pre-arranged times. Maybe at first you'll want to do it every fifteen minutes--just because you can't stand not checking email.
But over time, I strongly suggest that you extend the intervals. See if you can go 30 minutes without checking messages ... then try to check hourly or even every two hours.
There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that we need to check email the moment it comes in. We like too. We feel good doing it. But it's really hurting us.
You can take action on this today. Right now. This hour. It'll make a big difference on the quality of your thinking AND your productivity.
(Photo from Matt Palmer via Unsplash.)