Show Your Inbox Who’s Boss

business improvement efficiency & productivity

Does your breath get a little shorter or your heart skip a beat when you get an email from your boss or a colleague asking whether you can do A B or C? You feel the need to put down whatever it is you might be working on at that moment in order to crank out the request - or continue on with your day while the small to do list is racking up in the back of your brain. It does not matter how much you love your job, it can be stressful when you feel like you’re getting interrupted multiple times a day with the dreaded email notifications that never seem to stop.

Here at Ponderlily we’re all about making space for meaning. It’s hard to imagine doing our work with focus and meaning when you’re getting interrupted every 5 minutes. While an email notification may only be a small piece of distraction, cutting back on that distraction can help bring presence - and as a result, meaning - back into our daily lives. There are a few tricks we use around here to help stay on top of work while also allowing ourselves to be present for it. 

1 // Business email should stay where it belongs - in your business, during business hours. 

Take it off your phone. You don’t want the suffocating addiction of checking your work email at dinner with friends or at the zoo with your kids. It will take the relaxation out of your off days and take away from the relationships with the people around you. You'll also find more focus and a clearer head to respond when it's time to answer your email back at work.

Time Taken: 3 minutes to delete email notifications off your phone.

2 // Pause your email when it's time to focus

Yes, Gmail has a pause button and I recommend using it. This is for the times when you are hard at work on a specific project that you need to hyper focus on in order to complete to the best of your ability. No matter how hard you try, I find that it is always hard to stay 100% focused and present in your work if you have the notifications popping up on the screen. Install Pause Gmail Inbox Chrome Extension or Boomerang you can mute your inbox. This extension prevents new emails from showing up in your inbox until you’re ready for them.

Time taken: 5 minutes

To add Pause Gmail Inbox to your gmail account, just go to the Chrome Store, click the +ADD TO CHROME button, click ADD EXTENSION in the popup window, and reload your Gmail inbox. Once you have it installed, a new button should appear in your Gmail account right below the Compose button that says PAUSE INBOX.

3 // Create canned responses in Gmail.

If you are out of the office for the day you can set up your email so that immediately after someone emails you they get a response that you are out of office and will get back to them ASAP and some contact info in case of an emergency. This can give you peace of mind on your off days that if you have needy clients or are waiting to hear from someone they understand the delayed response time. Pro tip: include canned responses for when you have to say 'no' here too so you can find inbox freedom!

Time taken: 5 minutes

Open Gmail > Gear icon > Settings > Advanced tab > Enable Canned Responses > Save Changes!

We live in a very connected world and as a result, the world can get a little too close for comfort: when you’re trying to spend time with your family, when you’re at the supermarket isle, even when you’re at work! With constant notifications competing for your attention, it can be difficult to be present in the midst of the noise. Implementing the above strategies will take 15 minutes tops, but can save you a lot of mental stress and wasted time refreshing the inbox during date night or getting distracted every 5 minutes at work. Which steps will you implement today?

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