In January, I posted Slaying the Email Dragon. I was talking with Carol Tice on LinkedIn and she told me that she wished she could follow these rules. In all fairness, those're some strict rules outlined--you probably have to work up to them. I gave the following advice to Carol, and maybe it can help you too (and be sure to ask me any questions you have and I'll try my best to help you out):

Take small steps.

Set a goal (or rather table of goals) to check it only once every 30 minutes, then an hour, then every four hours (which is probably twice per workday) and then you can do it once per workday / 24 hours. You can create a time table that works for you.

Charge yourself. You probably have some money you allow yourself to spend on something you don't have to have, you just really want, like a Starbucks budget or similar. For every time you break your set goal, you take away a certain set amount. It tends to demotivate the bad behavior because it suuucks.

Reward yourself.

Jenn does a great job explaining this in her goal-setting post. (And she really goes into good detail about this in her Web Writer's Guide. If you haven't invested the $37 in that book yet, stop reading this post. You'd do better with your time to get to that book now!)

Set reasonable exceptions.

Allow yourself to respond to networking conversations or really important queries when you want to, so you can check for that email (and that email only!) unless it's a client email.

Really, it is just a good idea to look at email but not take more time than it takes to scan subject lines (or emails if your contacts haven't maneuvered those well) and only respond during a set, important time and not get distracted and off track.

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Jessie Fitzgerald writes about health and nutrition, especially for direct B2C sales nutritional supplement companies. Hire her at http://healthseocontent.com. Read about becoming a nutrition writer at http://nutritionwriterjobs.com.

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