Would you like to have a more productive workday? Clearing your workday from interruptions is a good place to start. According to Timothy Ferris, the author of “The 4-Hour Workweek”, in order to be productive and save time, one needs to manage his/her inbox – not the other way around. “E-mail”, he writes in his book, “is the largest single interruption in the modern digital life”. Creating time, therefore, hinges on managing your e-mail consumption. The fastest method for controlling the e-mail impulse is to set up an auto-responder that indicates to others you will be checking e-mail twice per day or less. Mr. Ferris calls this “batching” tasks i.e. “performing like tasks at set times, between which you let them accumulate” Your success with batching will depend on your ability to train others to respect these intervals and, much more difficult, your ability to discipline yourself to follow your own rules. So, to help you try this concept, the following are a few sample scripts for your auto-responders: Example 1: Let everyone know that you will be checking your email at 11 a.m. & 4p.m. [quote]“Hi everyone… In an effort to increase productivity and efficiency I am beginning a new personal email policy. I’ve recently realized I spend more time shuffling through my inbox and less time focused on the task at hand. It has become an unnecessary distraction that ultimately creates longer lead times on my ever-growing ‘to-do’ list. Going forward I will only be checking/responding to email at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays. I will try and respond to email in a timely manner without neglecting the needs of our clients and brand identity. If you need an immediate time-sensitive response… please don’t hesitate to call me. Phones are more fun anyways. Hopefully this new approach to email management will result in shorter lead times with more focused & creative work on my part. Cheers & here’s to life outside of my inbox!”[/quote] Example 2: A shorter version of the above auto-responder is as follows: [quote]”Thank you for your email! Due to my current workload I am only checking email at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you need anything immediately please call me on my cell so that I can address this important matter with you. Thank you and have a great day!”[/quote] Example 3: The following example is also a short auto-responder but informs others that you would check your email once a day: [quote]“I check e-mail once per day, often in the evening. If you need a response before tomorrow, please call me on my cell.”[/quote] For sure, there are other interruptions such as meetings, “quick” questions from others, etc., but managing your email is a good start. Remember to treat your email as a tool and not your workspace.