It is both a blessing and a curse that, in this day and age, you can be reached at any hour, on all corners of the earth.
While it's obviously amazing that text, email, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram can deliver world news in real time, it also means we can kind of be at work all the time.
It's disconcerting and more than a little anxiety-inducing.
So, as a general rule of thumb, I try to block out work hours for myself, so that there are times I'm definitely “at work,” and times I'm definitely “at play.”
But, truth be told, as a writer (one who often freelances), this is a constant challenge, especially since I'm responsible for making my own structure for my work days.
That being said, I find if I'm responding to emails and texts all the time, I end up feeling so unfocused and mentally fractured that I'm actually unable to work. It genuinely hampers my ability to give thoughtful responses and make the best choices.
So what's the best way to organize all of this constant correspondence?
According to Brooklyn-based holistic life coach Caitlin Margaret, when it comes to responding to emails, first thing in the morning is definitely not the right time.
She tells Elite Daily,
Don't wake up and immediately look at your emails. It's natural to want to respond quickly, but it's a short-term reward system that can hijack your day. It's a lot harder to focus and [complete] the tasks you really wanted to do after you've been just responding to emails for two hours. It pulls your mind all over the place.
But you shouldn't be answering emails at night, either.
Doing so wouldn't really help you get to the task of restful sleep.
So, what's the best time of day you should be responding to your emails?
Margaret says you should save it for the afternoon, preferably between the hours of noon and 4 p.m.
She also recommends setting up a system:
Different systems work for different people and different careers. Generally, I suggest working in your email in 20-minute intervals. Set a 20-minute timer, then close the email browser so you get to focus on your deeper tasks.
It seems a little wild, not being available at the *ding* of the inbox. But if it makes it easier to get things done, I'm all for it.
Plus, less time spent on emails means a little extra time for, like, talking face to face.
If people still do that anymore.