Everyone agrees that “living in your Inbox” is bad and a very reactive way to live your life.
The popularly advocated solution to this nowadays is to batch your email into a finite amount (and ideally eventually reducing to one a day) of sessions that are pre-scheduled throughout your day. Any time that is not inside these windows you are not allowed to process email at all. You would ideally also remove all notifications that might attempt to pull you in. This might worry you, feeling that you might miss out on something, and so you might start with a large amount of these: perhaps the first 15 minutes of every hour. The recommendation is that you’d eventually start reducing the discrete sessions as your particular job and email load allows.
This approach is batching by time. You are really handling ”
x minutes’ worth” of emails and thus these sessions can vary quite a bit depending on how many emails you received in the period.
Because I have Autism and really need structure and predictability in my life, this openendedness can make me anxious. I feel like I need to get to the email as soon as I can with the reasoning that a shorter amount of time for the batch minimizes the amount of emails I could possibly have. Instead of being “free” to focus I have a background thread in my mind of “Is it time to check email yet? The longer I wait the worse it can be.”
To combat this, the way I’m batching email checking now is to batch by amount instead of time. It works like this:
I like this system (currently) for a few reasons:
xemails is more consistent than the time it takes to process ”
xminutes’ worth of emails”.