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In today’s digital world, staying connected is easier than ever before. We have access to email, messaging apps, live chat, and other technologies that allow us to keep in touch with clients and address their inquiries in no time.
As an online entrepreneur, you’re wearing multiple hats. You may be pitching clients, answering their questions, and having long conversations on email. Unfortunately, these actions don’t necessarily work in your favor. They can actually hurt your productivity – and your business.
Often, the best thing you can do is to turn off email notifications and focus on what’s really important.
The average employee spends about 13 hours a week communicating by email. This number is even higher for online entrepreneurs due to the very nature of their business. You feel like you need to contact potential and existing clients, read important messages, and reply within hours or even minutes. Your income depends on it.
However, not all emails are worth your time. In fact, over 80 percent have little or no importance. Your inbox is flooded with promotional offers, social media notifications, and spam. Yet, you’re constantly checking it to make sure you’re not missing potential business.
At the end of the day, you realize that you still haven’t finished your project or ticked the boxes on your to-do list. Along with social media, email can be a huge waste of time.
It takes approximately 16 minutes to refocus and get back to your work after reading incoming email. This means you have less time for your business, which in turn, affects your revenue and work performance.
Without a doubt, email has its perks. It could help you score a good deal, land new clients, and secure more business. However, the drawbacks often outweigh the benefits. According to Atlassian, unnecessary emails result in annual revenue losses of over $1,800. Spam emails could cost your business as much as $1,250 per year (And I personally think that is on the low side).
The good news is that you can always turn off email notifications and set a schedule for checking your inbox (timeboxing). Whenever you’re sending an email, provide solutions and communicate clearly to reduce the need for further clarifications. Keep your messages brief and to the point.
Also, refrain from sending long emails. This habit is a waste of time for both the sender and the receiver. Plus, potential customers and partners are less likely to reply to long messages. Most people have a short attention span and limited time, so keep it short and sweet.
Set a clear schedule for checking your inbox. Whenever you check email, you get a dopamine hit. Therefore, if you always respond to email notifications, you reinforce the cue-action-reward cycle that forms (bad) habits. Plus, you’re losing your focus, which makes it harder to get back to work.
To break these habits, try to work on your most important tasks first and try not to read (and reply to) your emails first thing in the morning. Dedicate 20-30 minutes to processing your emails and then turn off email notifications. Schedule another time slot in the early afternoon. You’ll be surprised at how much you’re going to accomplish and how much time you’ll save! This will result in higher revenue and greater productivity.
As an online time management coach, I help solopreneurs to organize their lives, become more productive, less stressed and accomplish more in less time. I not only share tips for tools and tactics, but also provide insights and strategies to accomplish more. Read more...
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