When I Follow This Simple Email Rule, I Actually Finish Work On Time

Sophie Miura

This time last year, I was at breaking point. No matter what time I arrived at the office, I couldn't get through the ever-mounting pile of emails and tasks on my to-do list. When working late into the night and on weekends just became the norm, I knew I had to find a way to change my lifestyle before my health (and work quality) took a toll.

So every week I started testing out time management hacks we'd covered on the site, and one of them has managed to stick. It's simple in theory, but when I practice this rule, I leave the office on time: Rather than responding to incessant emails throughout the day, I schedule three 30-minute windows to check and respond to timely requests. Otherwise, my email is closed and notifications are off. If an email isn't timely, it sits in my inbox until the morning, when I make myself clear each and every message.

It turns out that treating email as an "opt-in" part of your day is scientifically proven to boost productivity. It can take up to 20 minutes to regain focus after a notification ping, which amounts to such a big time and energy drain that Boomerang for Gmail has launched Inbox Pause to automate this hack.

Inspired by this simple yet effective rule, I turned to women at the height of their careers to find out which time management tricks work for them. It turns out everyone has a tip that's changed the way they work, whether it be starting the day slowly or vowing to always be on time. Apparently, these are the productivity tips that work IRL.

What productivity trick works for you? Share your advice in the comments.

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