Are emails messing up your day? 2 simple tips that will make your life astronomically better.
[Productivity tips from a freelance copywriter‘s blog]
How does a typical Singapore employee/freelancer/entrepreneur’s day look like? Let’s use my own schedule (that I kept for years) as an example.
Wake up. Get to work. Plan all the wonderfully productive copywriting and marketing work I’m going to get done today and…… have all the day’s plans dashed the moment I start attending to emails.
You know the drill. Open your inbox, read emails, respond, receive replies, respond to replies, and before you know it… the day’s gone.
And along with it, all your productive plans for the day.
It’s a problem I’d struggled with for years, until I started implementing a few simple rules into my days. Then, my days completely turned around.
I now get emails answered, complete the work I’ve scheduled for the day, and have lots more free time for life.
Enough teasing. These are my simple, daily rules for handling emails and getting on with everything else at work (and life)!
#1: Wake up early (really early)
With very few exceptions, my weekdays begin bright (or should I say, dark) and early at 5.30am. On weekends, I relax and set my alarm for 7am.
The concept is incredibly simple. The earlier you start your day, the more of it there is to spend.
By starting my days at 5.30am, I can take my time getting ready and still begin my work days well before anyone else is up and at the computer. I usually begin work at around 6.45am, diving straight into clearing emails from copywriting clients.
What clearing your emails early also means, is that you won’t be receiving any replies for (at least) the next few hours – giving you lots of time to get to work on other important matters, such as building your business plans, crafting that crucial proposal, or just about anything else that needs your undivided attention.
This may be a challenging habit to start, but once you’ve tried it and experienced the difference it makes in your everyday life – it’ll be hard to beginning your work days “on time” again.
#2: Set your next “email check-in” time
One of the biggest productivity sins you can commit, is to leave your email software running while you’re working.
After all, do you really need to know the very second that someone’s sent you an email? That’s what email is for – non-urgent messages that can be responded to in time. If a client or colleague really needs to speak with you immediately, you’re only a phone call (or shoulder tap) away.
So after you’re done with your early morning emails, set a suitable time to check your email again. I usually check my emails just before lunch, then again at the end of the day. (Just to make sure the only emails I’ll have to clear the next morning, are those sent at night. This drastically reduces the number of emails you’ll have to look at each morning.)
In summary, a good rule of thumb would be to clear your emails:
Before lunch (try not to do it after lunch, as you’ll want to use your refreshed “lunchtime energy” to clear other important work)
At the end of your work day
Being focused on when you’re clearing your emails, and limiting it to 3 times a day, will make a massive difference to your overall productivity and quality of your work. (Even the quality of your emails will improve, as you won’t feel a pressing need to simply charge through them.)
Give these 2 simple rules a try. Commit to them for just 7 days (or 5 working days), then decide for yourself if these are habits worth keeping – or discarding.
(I’d wager you’ll find these new habits really hard to say no to, once you’ve tried them for just a week!)
Want more tips? Or help with your copywriting?
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