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Three Reasons Not to Announce When You Will Be Checking Email

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“I check email daily at 11:00am and again at 4:00pm.”

Have you ever received a message like that?

It communicates that the writer is disciplined.

It gives people an estimated time for when they may hear back.

It’s impressive–or is it?

Some professionals find that if they schedule times to check email, they can spend more time focusing on what they do best.

This is a good practice, depending on the industry you are in or the type of job you have.

My career has been centered primarily on administration, which meant that being quickly responsive and “the answer person” was part of my job. Therefore, for me, it was not practical to limit my email checking to only twice a day.

However, for many others, this is a great discipline. It can help you avoid being distracted and going off on rabbit trails throughout the day.  So I admire those who are able to make it work.

But should you announce publicly the specific times you check email?  Maybe not, and here’s three reasons why.

You may set up unrealistic expectations.

If you get too predictable, people may begin to expect certain patterns from you. If you don’t end up answering them by lunch or after 4:00, your reliability and credibility may get dinged.

You may actually lose some control of your schedule.

When people learn the times you will check email, they may try to time what they write to hit you when they know you are in your in-box. By announcing your plans, you are giving people permission to try to manipulate your attention.

Even well-planned days can go off the rails.

Interruptions can, and will, occur.  Why give yourself the extra pressure of having openly committed to handling email at a certain time each day? Worse yet, if you can’t answer at the time you’ve advertised, your credibility will take a ding.

If setting aside certain times to process emails helps you be more productive, go for it. But I’d advise against advertising when those times are, particularly to the public.  Instead, keep yourself internally disciplined to respond in a timely way, and people will begin to trust that they will hear from you within a reasonable time.

For more on email by Beth, check out Does He Ever Answer Email?

Check out this helpful article from Inc: This Simple Tool Reduced My Email Clutter by 70 Percent


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