How To Spend Less Time Answering Email And More Time Doing Important Stuff

Hi, I’m Talia, and I’m an email addict.

Email is like candy for a Type-A person, and boy, do I have a sweet tooth.

A couple of months ago, If you came up to my desk at work to chat, I probably would have told you I’m “drowning in email” and couldn’t talk. Does anyone else do that?

After figuring out how to kick my inbox’s ass on a daily basis, I’d never let email be a reason not to socialize for a minute or two.

I conquer my inbox every day with a system that actually works.

How do I do it? By blocking off one hour-long chunks of time twice a day to answer and check email. Outside of that time, I barely look at my inbox.

My job as a recruiter for writers at Elite Daily relies heavily on email. I correspond with over 400 writers on a weekly basis. Each email needs my attention. Maintaining the good relationships I have with writers means I have to respond promptly.

But I’m not about that slave-to-my-email life.

When I started working at Elite Daily, email would suck up an entire day sometimes. Even though I felt like I was getting sh*t done, I barely did anything productive.

Yeah, email is necessary to my job and therefore productive, but it becomes a problem when it gets in the way of other equally important tasks.

Now, I look at and answer emails twice a day. Once at 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM and then again at 4:00 PM depending on how many came in that day. My rule is, if I have less than ten emails chilling in my inbox towards the end of the day, I leave them until the next morning.

I’m lucky to have a job where my emails aren’t very time sensitive. Letting them sit for one night won’t wreak havoc on my team at Elite Daily.

By carving out time and only allowing myself to answer email once or twice a day for a total of two hours maximum, I’m left with plenty of time to handle everything else.

Even though checking email feels productive, it’s better to let them sit while you accomplish other tasks.

No one is going to die because you didn’t answer an email right away.

The key is to test out what times work best for you.

I get to work at 9:00 AM and first take care of the tasks I’m looking forward to the least for two hours. Doing this works for me because I’m a morning person, but something different might work for you.

If the first thing you do when you settle at your desk with a cup of coffee is check email, you’re more likely to get caught up in responding to responses, which will make the process of answering email take a whole lot longer.

If you’re like me and can’t stand seeing a little number telling you how many emails you haven’t read yet, make a system for flagging them. When I get emails, I open them, star them, and let them sit at the top of my inbox. I use Gmail, but you can set this up within whatever email system you use.

For one week, try carving out time every day specifically for email and see what happens. Set a defined start and end time too; it will make you want to get through all your important emails faster.

5 thoughts on “How To Spend Less Time Answering Email And More Time Doing Important Stuff

  1. vincentcarlos says:

    It sounds like you read the book “the one thing”? It talks about how willpower is strongest in the beginning of the day so you should always do the hardest or least enjoyable things first and it also talks about time blocks where you should just set aside an amount of time and just focus on doing that one thing. That’s awesome that you work at elite daily that’s been one of my favorite sites for the past year now:) great post:)


      • vincentcarlos says:

        it’s my number 6 all time favorite book so I would definitely recommend it:) Yea, I’ve actually contributed 4 articles to you guys, but since I’ve started writing on here I’ve slowed down


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