Shut Down Your Email Inbox

Shut Down Your Inbox

Do you work with your Email open all day?

This is a bit of a tough habit to break, but you have to realize that email is not a conversation or a chat. It’s a message exchange. People don’t always send, receive, or read things when you want them to. As a result, you end up waiting and staring instead of creating or doing.

Break it up; you’ll do more.

Identify the 2 or 3 times per day your clients would benefit most optimally if you were responding to your inbox. For me it is: from 7:00 AM to 7:30, from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM, and from 1:30 t0 2:00 PM. (Our hours are 6:30 AM to 3:00 PM.) That’s not an exact schedule, but it’s pretty close. I leave the box open during those times – and close it all other times.

What happens is, I know that ‘this is email time.’ I efficiently respond to all pertinent emails in one felled swoop. There’s even time for some quick secondary responses if the recipient is online. Anything more urgent than that should be a phone call anyway.

Guess What: My PC & Clients Survive!

You might think, ‘I get too many emails to shut down my inbox for three hours in the middle of the day.’ Wrong. The average number of emails you get in one day, if you adopt the ‘break-it-up’ philosophy, will stay the same – or go down. That’s because you are being more efficient and responding more completely.

Any client who has a real emergency will be calling you. If it’s important, but not enough to pick up the phone, a response time of 3 hours later is professional. They will also notice the improvement in your service. You’ve become more thorough and less clutter. You now have time to think about great solutions for their problems.

Staring Is Not Thinking

You’re just waiting. Finish that project that you never have time for instead. Don’t have a side project? Find something that doesn’t work well in your office and figure out a way to make it work better.

You Can Go Home Now!

Notice how I shut down my inbox at 2:00, but we close our office at 3:00. There is no better way to stay in the office later than you need to than to start replying to emails. Are you sure it really can’t wait until tomorrow morning? Perhaps you should have called that person earlier in the day then.

2 thoughts

  1. Matt, have you gone paranoid? All this security for getting to you. No like button. I don’t always have as comment o to give you. What’s up. You’ve doner some kind of pea pod change. As for email. It’s hard to do when you have readers that should be answered to their comments asap. Best. >KB

    1. KB! I’ve been meaning to write to you. When I switched over to self-hosted, which has many advantages, the drawback seems to be that I ‘lost’ those followers who were following via This has been bothering me and I’m trying to fix it up.
      When I am completely logged out and just visit my site as a ‘visitor’, I do see a LIKE button. It’s also there when I am logged in, I just tested it. Are you not seeing that?
      I’m also curious if my posts are appearing in your reader?
      — Re: the post … I’ve found that I’m able to respond to everyone very, very quickly and still get more work done in between the scheduled ‘checking email’ time slots.

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