Two weeks ago I wrote about cleaning out my email to zero. Finally I reached that elusive zero today. It took a lot longer than anticipated, but the volume I needed to organize was massive.

Why was this? I usually check my email at least six times a day, so they should be organized right?

  1. gmail batching email timeI wake up, I check my email on my phone to see if there is anything urgent. Replying on my phone is a pain, so I only read emails.
  1. I get ready for my workday and then I sit down at my computer and check my email again. I reply and do tasks around emails all day.
  1. Before my lunch break – check emails.
  1. Back from lunch – new emails and the replies from the morning emails.
  1. End of the day – better check them and get things organized for tomorrow.
  1. Right before bed. Facebook and email on my phone. More replies have come in and I didn’t get all of the tasks done. I plan to catch up tomorrow.


Does this sound familiar? How often are you checking your email? How often do you think you should be checking it?

What is Batched Email Time?cookie batching email time

In my research of email and time management I began to read about batched email time. Think of it this way. If you were going to bake cookies – what would be more efficient? To make one cookie at a time or to make a batch of them all at once?

The same is true for batched email time. Check your email less often and with fewer interruptions is the general rule.

red clock batching email timeA study done by Gloria Mark of the University of California looked at the effect of interruptions on productivity. In the discussion and conclusions it was stated that, “people in the interrupted conditions experienced a higher workload, more stress, higher frustration, more time pressure, and effort.” Also this was shown to happen after just 20 minutes of interruptions.

“Once thrown off track, it can take some 23 minutes for a worker to return to the original task.” says Gloria Mark, a professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine, who studies digital distraction. — see the full article by RACHEL EMMA SILVERMAN of the Wall Street Journal

Easy to write about, but in the time of writing this article I have read nine articles related to this topic, watched one video, checked my email, pet the cat, looked for related photos and answered questions posed by my 11-year old. I have been tempted to check Facebook, but I am aware that that isn’t related to this article at all.

I have been trying to find a formula for batched email time. How many times should I check my email per day and for how long? My conclusion – every person is unique. It is up to me to do my own science to determine the system best suited to me.

So I am going to begin by setting two 30 minute batched email times per day. My chosen times are 10am and 2pm.

I will let you know how that goes and if you decide to join me – share your progress and advice in the comments below.