It’s an idea made popular by entrepreneur and author Tim Ferriss — check your email twice a day, no more.
Writing for Fast Company, Laura Vanderkam describes her own experience limiting her email diet. She opted to check email during the workday at 10:30 AM and again in the mid-afternoon.
The first thing she describes how deep-seated her email addiction actually is. Consciously ignoring her inbox until the designated times each day, she says that her “fingers felt almost twitchy.”
The feeling was especially bad when she hit a tough spot in the task at hand, because she could ditch it, open up her inbox, and continue feeling like she was making “progress.” With email eliminated until a certain time, she (and all who adopt this technique) have to reckon with their to-do lists rather than their inboxes.
“When I didn’t check email until 10:30 a.m., but started working shortly after 6 a.m., I got a lot done,” she writes. “I wrote and edited whole chapters. I would have written those chapters anyway eventually, but they would have taken a lot longer.”
Extended interaction with your email costs focus, and focus is exactly what you need at work. Limiting your email diet just as Vanderkam and Ferriss have done, even if only as an experiment, might drastically change the way you think about it.