5 things to do instead of checking email

It’s easy for me to get distracted by emails. When I have a few minutes, I gravitate toward the inbox thinking I’ll clear a few more emails. Most of the time, I simply re-read them and take no action.

Capture_Email iconThat’s why sometimes it’s best to ignore emails, which can easily become a distraction. I would venture that a person could spend all day on email and not accomplish much.

Instead of skimming emails, I set aside time when I can focus on emails and respond appropriately. When I do have a few minutes and need a break, instead of checking email I do the following:

  1. Walk. It’s good to stand up and stretch. I usually do a lap around the office floor.
  2. Drink water. We’re supposed to drink eight glasses a day, and I’m usually short of that. If I need a break, I walk to the water cooler and get another glass.
  3. Read an article. I almost always have a pile of magazines with sticky notes sticking out, indicating there is an article to read. If I need a break, I’ll read one of the articles, which usually provides me with inspiration.
  4. Make a to-do list. When I am feeling overwhelmed, it helps if I list everything I need to do. That keeps me from fretting that I will forget something.
  5. Clean your desk. By week’s end, I like to have the piles put away and the folders filed. Sometimes on a mini break I will dust the desk or sharpen my pencils.

What do you recommend doing instead of checking emails?