This morning on Radio 4 they did a piece on the role of the internet in modern society.
Bob Geldof offered a wonderful piece of time management advice. I understood him to say that that none of the companies that he was ‘involved with’ were allowed to receive e-mails before 2.00pm. He went on to say that he ‘would like to think’ that this improved productivity.
I am sure it does. The whole morning is available without e-mail distraction to do high value work. This stops people easing their way into the day by ‘doing’ e-mails only to find half the day gone and they have got nothing (of real consequence) done.
I only download e-mails every three hours – a thought which horrifies most people. But once they recognise that there really is no such thing as an urgent e-mail – and that I enjoy the benefits of long periods at work un-interrupted by e-mail most start to see the point.
Another good reason for Bob’s ‘no e-mail till 2’ rule is that doing e-mail is a pretty low level activity. Much of it can be done on auto-pilot – so do it after lunch – when we take a bit of a performance hit anyway.