When at work, you perhaps see a pop-up every time someone sends you email. Typically Microsoft Outlook clients are configured to annoy you with popups by default. Soon, you end up only reading any email that just pops in, constantly interrupting you in your work, breaking your focus and concentration. This is not normal way for humans to work, and it’s causing you stress which can lead to health problems.

So disable email notifications (you can google on how to do this in Outlook, Thunderbird or whatever client you use) and get into the habit of reading and responding to email just a few times every day. I have clients that treat email like SMS, expecting answers to spreadsheet calculations as fast as if their lives depended on it.

Take back control and send a clear message to your clients and co-workers: You read email only a few times a day, and you will not consider anything sent to you on CC: anything other than being informed. You will only reply to email being sent specifically TO: you. This will also not only educate others on better practises but help you put a shield against the mind-numbing stress involved in other people’s stupidity and ignorance.

If people try to find other ways, like barging into your office or calling you, don’t answer the phone, and ask people to send you email instead. Disable voicemail or do like I do, leave a greeting message that says: Sorry I have no time to check my voicemail so please hang up now. 

If people waste your time, say to them: Hold that thought for one minute. Then walk away.