How to Manage Email with A.W.E.

Lisa Crilley Mallis, Owner, System Savvy Consulting, LLC

Has this happened to you? You get fully into the flow of a project when your attention is distracted by a pop-up or tone email notification. Do you respond by leaving the project to check your email?

Many email programs have a default setting to check for new emails every 5 minutes.  Do you realize that if you respond to every “refresh,” in an 8 hour work day, you could be interrupted by email 96 times?

Think about it. If you allow yourself to be distracted by jumping over to your inbox and reading the email, even if you decide to respond later, it can take up to 15 minutes for your brain to pick back up where it was before the interruption.  Completion of your report is now taking longer and longer and longer.  And in that 15 minutes, you may have received 3 more batches of emails . . . it’s a never ending cycle.

Change this scenario! Be proactive with your email by using the 3 steps of A.W.E.

AWARENESS – How often do you want to check your email?  Checking in every 45 minutes limits your interruptions to 11 per day.  Or every 2 hours – resulting in 4 interruptions.   Possibly you want to check your email once in the morning and once in the afternoon.  You decide.

WORK – Create the structure to help you follow your new plan.  Change the refresh setting in your email program so you aren’t distracted.  Or change your “new mail” notification settings. Or close your email program completely.  Or, if you need to access your email program to retrieve data or use the appointment function, choose the “work offline” option so you aren’t distracted.

EVALUATION – After a trial run, what worked?  What would you like to change?  Perhaps you decide to check email in the morning at 10:30am instead of 8:00am, to give you time to accomplish an important task within your first hour of arriving in your office.  Or maybe you decide you need to check email every 30 minutes so you can be in touch with coworkers more consistently. 

Experiment with this process – allow yourself several options to try over time. Discover what works best for you and stick to it, but be willing to adjust as your needs change.

Create the flow and balance you want in your workday – with A.W.E.

Lisa Crilley Mallis, time strategy visionary, combines her experience in education and coaching with her love of schedules, systems, and time management to create personalized and easy to implement solutions. Every person deserves the opportunity to live the life of their dreams feeling in control and bringing balance into their lives.  The crazy, “I’m so busy” feeling does not have to be way of life.   You can live a life where every day is productive, rewarding, and fun!

Lisa is also the author of Your Time. Your Life:  The Busy Woman’s Guide to Simplify Your Day and 30 Days to Success:  An A.W.E. Inspired Journal. 

She lives in Chagrin Falls, Ohio with her husband Lou and his dog, Neuton.  She loves chocolate, the beach, and country music.  Contact Lisa at