Many productivity experts, like Tim Ferris and others, have suggested carving out a schedule or set time to work on communications, such as email and instant messaging. This can help increase productivity and instances of “flow” which consists of a pure mental state that allows for maximum concentration on one task at a time.
Steps for Building a Communication Schedule
- Find what works best for you. When is the best time for you to check your emails or communicate with co-workers? For many people, it is in the morning and right after lunch. However, some people are more coherent in the afternoons, so that might be a better time.
- Let others know. Let co-workers and others who you communicate with often that you will only be checking your email at 8am, 1pm, and 4pm or that you are only available for instant messaging from 1-4pm. Setting up expectations can create happy co-workers and clients.
- Stick to the schedule. If you are tempted to check your inbox out of habit, keep Outlook or your webmail window closed and not available. This will prevent quit checks that can disrupt your workflow.
Usually, emails and IMs don’t transmit emergencies, so have faith in scheduling communication times. Let us know if the comments if this strategy has worked for you!