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E-mail overload? Three ways to tame your in box.

Could something as simple as e-mail really solve America’s current economic woes? Consider its drag on productivity: With more than 294 billion e-mails sent worldwide every day, office workers spend a quarter of their working hours on e-mail-related tasks. You can make a powerful improvement in your output – and boost American productivity in the process – by making a few adjustments to your in-box routine. Here are three ways to eliminate your e-mail overload:

The average office worker checks his mail 50 times a day, according to one estimate. You can cure e-mail overload by checking it only five times daily.
Illustration by Jake Turcotte / The Christian Science Monitor
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1. Check your in box five times a day – or less

In order to be most productive, you need blocks of uninterrupted time to focus on vital tasks that add the most value to your business. Excessive in-box viewing wastes time and adds to e-mail overload. One time-management software firm estimates the average office worker checks his in box 50 times a day; I suggest five. Even if you work a job that demands that you stay on top of your e-mails, that five viewings allow you to see your e-mail about every 90 minutes. (Hint: Wait an hour and a half after getting to the office before you open your in box.) Schedule the specific times during the day that you will check your in box, and stick to it.


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