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Striving for Productivity, Efficiency and Happiness

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The Miracle of a Paused Inbox

I have been on a super Unproductive streak lately. Why? Because I have been avoiding things like writing blog posts and other “frogs” I don’t want to do by using my Inbox as a To Do list.

Constantly checking email gives me something to do besides what I am supposed to be doing. It is a satisfying feeling to take care of quick, small tasks and to send email replies – but working from the inbox is a bad habit. I have written about this a number of times, including in March, when I committed to being more focused on limiting email. Old habits dies hard and they also come back to haunt us!

I have been trying to pause my inbox and had a good streak where I did this for several months. This was a Goal in my two past 12 Week Year plans. I had an auto-reply which told people I would check my email at 3pm. I explained that if they had an urgent request, they should email my support system.

After a while, this auto-response became annoying to people who emailed me often, so I turned that off and I think it works fine to just pause it and check once in the afternoon, as well as in the morning. Checking in the morning can be dangerous because it can delay “eating the frog,” so I try to limit and responses and tasks from email to 30 minutes in the morning.

For some reason a few weeks ago, I stopped turning on the Inbox Pause, and found myself in my old bad habit of constantly checking the inbox for something new to do. Before I knew it, the clock struck 4pm and I hadn’t started the projects I had scheduled for the day.

This week I have been more conscious of turning off email and it has made a big difference in my productivity and my mental state. Being tied to email all the time is draining and at the end of the day, makes the day seem very unproductive.

Hopefully I will eventually REALLY break this habit. For now, it’s a good feeling to remember the benefits of pausing the inbox and recognizing that this is hard to do sometimes.

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