Undoubtedly, email has become an addiction that’s hard to shake. Remember back to when you could go weeks without checking your email? Now, if you’re lucky — you only check it a few times within the hour. Sadly of the 25 new emails since your last check only one is actually work related and not very urgent at all. But, we continue to check it frequently throughout the day.

Don’t you sometimes miss the freedom of not checking email every 5 minutes? I do. For many of us, what used to be a convenience has turned into another project to tackle on the to-do-list.

Just the thought of giving up email cold turkey probably sends you into a panic, paired with cold chills and major withdraw. Email is here to stay, but it doesn’t have to consume your entire world or be overwhelming. I’m talking more than your standard spam filter. Here are 8 ways to easily wean yourself off your email addiction and shift from overwhelm to under control every day:

Step #1: Create an Email “Tackle-It” Process

Don’t let the email cycle trap you into reading every single email the second it drops in your box. Select a specific time during the day to check your email. Maybe once in the mid-morning, in the afternoon and then again just before closing time. Read it, complete what needs to be done and then move on.

Step #2: Filters are Your Best Friend, Trust me…

I can’t think of one popular email program that doesn’t offer automatic sorting. Set up rules to drop incoming emails in a designated folder and save yourself loads of time and effort. Schedule important emails for your inbox (i.e. client questions, prospecting etc.) while not so urgent emails (i.e. newsletter subscriptions etc.) can be filed away for later viewing or purging. (Quick tip: Unsubscribe from newsletters that you haven’t read in the last 30 days.)

Step #3: Utilize your Instant Messenger

Quicker and more convenient way to communicate something and get a response rather than sending an email and then waiting around for the response. Sign up for a free service such as Yahoo Messenger and give your information to contacts you communicate with on a regular basis (i.e. your assistant) and talk in real time rather than filling your inbox to the brim. (Quick tip: Turn off the notification option to keep from being distracted while working on different tasks.)

Step #4: It’s Called a Telephone

It may sometimes seem easier to send out an email, but picking up the phone can drastically cut down on the number of emails you receive. What can be said in 3 minutes often takes several back and forth emails to express. Added bonus, using the telephone cuts down on lingering to-dos that result from having to wait for a response.

Step #5: Opt for Collaboration

Do you find yourself constantly getting emails with the latest contract version or other project updates? A Wiki Software program will allow for users to create and update documents and files rapidly in one central location. No more emails back and forth from several different co-workers. There are hundreds of programs. Basecamp.com or hyperoffice.com are just two that you could choose.

Step #6: Add an FAQs Page to Your Site

Are you being asked the same questions over and over by clients and prospects? Try adding the answers to a frequently asked questions (FAQs) section on your website. (Quick tip: Want to really wow new clients? Send them a copy of your FAQs when they purchase your product or sign up for your service.)

Step #7: Schedule a BRIEF Meeting

Important project that needs to be discussed? Rather than spreading your message out over several emails, schedule a brief 10 minute meeting to go over particulars. Use the time to quickly review what needs to be covered and answer all questions and move on.

Step #8: Use Multiple Email Addresses

You signed up for yet another change-my-life newsletters and now you find your inbox overflowing with them. The succulent subject lines keep you promising yourself that you will read them someday, but for now you just don’t have time. I’ve been there…and sometimes find myself subscribing to more newsletters than I should, but there is one fundamental difference. I send all my just-gotta-have-it newsletters to a different email address. That way, my main email address is clear to receive time sensitive messages and I can get around to my guilty pleasure when I have the time. Hey, we’re only tackling one addiction today!

So, what have we learned? Just because email is readily available with just the click of a mouse doesn’t mean you have to overdose on it. Indulge — in moderation on this powerful drug if you want to avoid being overwhelmed and stressed out.
Action Steps:

Productivity is all about immediate action, so I want you to implement at least 2 of the above suggestions right now. Breaking the email addiction is not only liberating, but you will notice things happening much faster in your business because you will be communicating more effective and efficiently with staff and clients, building stronger connections and generating new business with less effort.

Give it a whirl and let me know how it goes!

Are there different tips you have for email recovery?

Author's Bio: 

Tylesha Juliano, the Simplicity Strategist & Founder of Sprout Productive, is charismatic and down-to-earth in her approach to empowering women to discover their appetite for business + life! Her brand, Deliciously Irresistible Living ™, illustrates a step-by-step recipe that leverages open space for living a lifestyle that leaves you full and satisfied. Pulling from her experience as a serial entrepreneur and more than 15+ years of administrative support wisdom, Tylesha uses hands-on methods to teach you the actionable and life changing systems she used to recover from business burnout and start generating tangible results daily.