Small business owners have a variety of strategies for curbing the amount of time they spend reading and responding to emails, texts and social media posts. Here are some tips they shared:
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— Set a batch email program, which holds incoming mail until you're ready to look at it. That way you're not reading in dribs and drabs all day, interrupting other tasks. Also use filters that funnel different types of messages — for example, work and personal — to separate folders.
— Use messaging programs like Slack that allow groups of people to communicate and share documents, reducing the number of emails and texts that must be read. You can turn the programs off or put updates and notifications on hold if you don't want to be disturbed.
— Carry two cellphones, one for business and one for personal use. Or, add a second line to your cellphone and use it solely for business.
— Turn off notifications for texts, emails and social media channels to reduce the temptation to keep checking.
— Don't put your cellphone number on your website or social media account.
— Shut off your phone or leave it behind when you go out for the evening. At home, set it in another room if you want uninterrupted time with your family or for yourself. The same goes for your computer.
— Set a schedule for when you'll read texts, email and social media posts and respond to them when you're not at the office. Creating similar limits at work can also help you be more productive. Let clients and employees know when and how they can reach you, or when you'll respond to anything they send you. If you're willing to be reached in an emergency, provide guidelines about what qualifies.
— If you create a schedule, stick to it!