Keep Different Times for Work and Communication

Most of us work with a chat or Slack window open on our laptops.

We need to ask if this is the best way to work and be productive.

Most likely, it is not.

It has two problems.

One big fundamental issue is that a message is a distraction that takes you away from the work you are doing and then you can take a long time (research says up to 25 minutes) to reach the same state of flow that you were in earlier. 

There is another challenge it poses, which most of us don’t realize. 

By responding to messages as soon as they are dropped, we train the senders to expect a quick reply from us, and on some occasions when you don’t reply as quickly you make them anxious and probably get them to think that you take a long time to respond.

Next time, when you get ready to write a reply and press send to a message as soon it has come in, understand that it is neither good for your productivity nor for your professional reputation.

A better way is to schedule time to write a reply to all important messages that come in and save it as a draft, and then schedule a particular time in a day, preferably in the middle of the day. So that you still have time to look at some replies that come in before you end your work for the day, and also because it will set the right expectations that you only work during regular office hours.