Are you addicted to checking email? You’re not alone. To help people conquer their email demons, the fourth annual global No Email Day recently came and went on April 4, 2014. As a small business owner, can you ignore your email for a day? Before you ask why you’d even want to try that, you have to admit constantly checking email is an incredible drain on your time. It’s possible to spend your whole day checking and responding to email to the detriment of the rest of your business.
What’s more, all that checking can leave you in a “high alert” state of stress, according to researchers at the University of California, Irvine, and the U.S. Army. Taking a break from email for one day a week, or even one day a month could help you grow your business by allowing you to concentrate on other aspects of your business, such as developing new business ideas and processes.
Here are five ways to implement your own no-email day:
1. Use Your Phone as a Phone
Your smartphone is a great place to check email, but for one day try to turn it off. Change the settings on your phone so it doesn’t buzz or make a sound when a new email comes in.
2. Texting Counts, Too!
Don’t substitute texting for email unless it’s an emergency. Most business people use texting to convey quick information, but don’t start using SMS as a crutch to get through your no-email day.
3. Make It Internal
Most small business owners can’t ignore customer emails for a full day and probably shouldn’t. Try focusing on not checking in-house email only. Tell sales staff and mobile workers to call you that day instead. Most likely you won’t get as many calls as you think. People tend to work things out for themselves before bothering to pick up the phone. With email, it’s easy to over-communicate.
4. Be Flexible
If most of your employees work from home, a no-email day, might not work, but you could make it an “only crucial email” day.
5. Force Face-To-Face.
The biggest result of a no-email day is employees are forced to talk to each other in person more often. Once they’ve rediscovered the art of conversation, you’ll likely see a cutback in internal email in the future. If a no-email day is impossible for you, try setting up specific times you’ll check email. Whether it’s at the top of every hour or every few hours, you’re likely to buy yourself some time to work on other aspects of your business.
Learning to communicate without email, or at least learning to take a break from it every once in a while can ultimately result in higher productivity for you and even your team. Don't be afraid to go on an email fast and see what happens as a result!
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