1) Don’t Check Email All Day
Nothing sabotages productivity more than having your inbox open all day. You find yourself checking it when you are bored, during telephone calls or when you should be starting a deep concentration task.
Instead, have set times of the day where you check your email. For example, you could check it at 9.am, 1pm and 4pm.
Some ADHDers are resistant to this structured email checking idea. They argue that due to the nature of their job, closing their inbox would be impossible. In reality there aren’t many jobs where an open inbox is a requirement.
Usually the resistance is because you secretly enjoy the distraction it provides, which I totally understand. If going cold turkey feels hard, gradually decrease the number of times a day you check your email.
2) Do Check Your Emails
There are so many ways to keep in touch with people these days such as, Texting, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Whatsapp, that some people don’t use their email.
However, if you have an email account, it is important that you check it!
You can miss important information by not looking. If you really don’t need email, close your account down. But if you have one, check it at least once a day.
3) Keep Emails Short
Keep emails short and to the point. ADHD adults are chatty and knowledgeable, yet emails don’t need to be written as you would talk. By keeping emails compact, they are quicker for you to write and easier for the recipient to read, understand and reply to.
Entrepreneur and author, Guy Kawasaki, believes the best length for email is 5 sentences. Less than that seems abrupt and rude and longer than 5 sentences is unnecessary.
Being concise isn’t a new idea. Hemingway said, ‘You can remove words which are unnecessary and tighten up your prose.’
If being brief is a challenge, there is an app to help! It’s called the Hemingway app, and it aims to help your writing be bold and brief: http://www.hemingwayapp.com
4) One Topic Per Email
Restricting each email to a single topic is ideal, as emails having multiple topics typically don’t get fully read. Topics further down in the email will receive less attention from the reader.
If ever you do need to send an email with multiple topics, create a heading for each topic. It’s easier for you to write and easier for the recipient to notice the different subjects.
5) Create a Stock Email Reply
If you find yourself answering the same or similar questions, create a ‘stock email’ for that question. Keep your stock reply in an email folder where it is easy to find. Then simply cut and paste when needed. Don’t worry; it’s not rude or cheating. Even if you personalize it a little, your stock emails will save you time and brain power.
6) Become a Speedy Typer
If your days involve a lot of typing, take typing lessons. Learning to type is one of the most useful skills I have ever learned. It saves so much time.
Unsubscribe from email newsletters that are no longer interesting to you. They fill up your inbox and make it hard to find important emails. Plus it’s easy to get distracted and read them when there are more pressing things to do.
8) Press Delete
As a polite person, when someone sends you an email, your first instinct is probably to reply. However, it’s not necessary to reply to all emails. Some emails are just ‘FYI’ emails to keep you in the loop. Others are unsolicited or spam, so it’s fine to delete those.
9) Email is Not Always Quicker
If you spend a lot of time writing emails each day, it’s easy to forget it isn’t always the best mode of communication. Sometimes it’s easier to pick up the phone than spending time writing complex ideas in an email.
10) Be Careful
If you are addressing a sensitive matter and would be embarrassed if anyone besides the intended recipient read it, pick up the phone and talk instead. Emails can accidentally get sent to the wrong people very easily.
11) Turn Emails into a Game
Turn writing emails into a game. Set your timer for 30 minutes and have a goal to write “X” number of emails in that time. You will become more productive and even have fun.
12) Combat Email Anxiety
If you have an email to write that is causing you anxiety, set your timer for 15 minutes. Most emails can be written in that time. Knowing that any pain you are experiencing will be over in 15 minutes or less helps get the job done. Then give yourself a reward!