Yes, it’s nice to get loads of likes for your latest Instagram picture and it can be fun to be the first person to comment on a friend’s post, but the world won’t end if you don’t Tweet morning, noon and night.
Very rarely does even the most urgent email require your immediate attention (and if a message is that urgent, the chances are the person who sent it will phone if they really need an answer by a certain time).
Set aside time three time slots a day to deal with emails (and, social media) – I find that first thing in the morning, around lunchtime and late afternoon work best – and if people get used to getting responses from you during those times, they may start timing their messages to fit into your schedule (or at least not expecting a reply outside those times!).
In the morning:
- Answer the messages that can be dealt with quickly – flag the ones that need more thought to deal with later
- Delete the junk message or newsletters that you know you’ll never get around to reading – getting rid of them now helps keep your inbox manageable
- Repeat the above process
- Revisit the messages that you flagged earlier – do you have an answer yet? If so, reply, if not set aside some time later to respond to them (if it won’t be that day, make sure it’s before any deadlines they may have)
In the evening:
- Repeat the process above one last time – and log off, don’t be tempted to check your inbox again later, unless you’re waiting for something urgent that you really can’t miss.
Unless your job involves social media, apply the same approach to that – set aside half an hour or so three times a day to check your feed, share a post or update your Instagram.
Let’s face it if a friend falls out with you because you didn’t like their cat photos within seconds of them being posted, you are probably better off without them in your life!
It’s easy to spend longer than planned on social media – the temptation to keep scrolling in case you miss something can be huge, so if you know you’re likely to spend too long online, set a timer and log off when it goes off.
* Yes I am aware that there’s a certain irony in posting a blog about getting off the internet!
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