I dare you to delete your emails…

A couple of months ago I shared some time saving and productivity tips with my mentoring group, Darners. One of those tips was not to open Outlook (or whatever email client you use) before midday each day to stop you being distracted by other people’s demands. It helps you stay focused and get the bigger tasks completed without being distracted.

It has been a huge success for me and everyone else who has tried it.

At this month’s meeting one of the delegates shared how he, and Daimler, had taken it one stage further…

When Sanjay went away on holiday, instead of putting the usual responder on saying “I’ll be back on xxx”, he added:

“…and all emails received up to that date will be deleted. If your matter requires my attention, please email me after xxx”.

He found that liberating…

Instead of feeling pressure to keep on top of his inbox whilst he was away with his family, he had total freedom. He also, when he returned to work, “missed out” on having to trawl through loads of emails in order to identify those that needed a response!

So far, following his return, he has only received a handful of emails and no complaints.

Daimler, the car manufacturer, has also offered the same idea to its team members with much celebrated success.

So, ask yourself…

Do I really need to check my emails before noon each day? (I’ve heard lots of excuses as to why people do, but I’ve yet to hear a valid one. If there’s no good reason, give it a go and see how much more productive you can be each day.)


The next time I go on holiday, can I put on an auto responder that says all my emails are going to be deleted on my return? What would be the consequences of that? And how liberating would it be?

I’d love to hear how you get on.

Let’s Get Started…

Pull Your Socks Up


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Simon has been inspiring, challenging and supporting business owners and their teams to be the best they can be since 1997. In the first three years he owned GreenStones, he quadrupled its profits, tripled its turnover and doubled the number of team members. And if that is not enough he has also ran the London Marathon, cycled from Lands End to John O’Groats (raising over £20K for Arthritis Research) and qualified as a hypnotherapist. Simon now spends his time helping business owners use the Bravest Business Model to help them focus on the most important functions of their business. After they have been working with him for a while they start to earn the money they deserve, they get more time with their family doing the things they want to do and they make their mum proud!

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10 Responses to I dare you to delete your emails…

  1. Karen Reyburn September 30, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

    Love it. Every time I have done this I have had huge success in achieving the one (or two or three) major projects I needed to get done that day. And conversely, hardly achieving anything if I check emails first!!

    Amazing how nothing is really that critical.

    • Simon Chaplin September 30, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

      Thanks Karen.

      I am pleased it is not just us! When I am disciplined enough to do it I make real progress with projects as well.

      And it feels liberating first thing in the morning not to have to reply to loads of email and delete the rubbish ones!

  2. Jenni Henderson September 30, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

    Completely agree! And Dare accepted! It is very liberating not to check emails and I do know that when I do this I do find I am more productive and nothing is that urgent it can wait. It is surprising how we get caught up in our emails and needing to be on call 24/7. I was at a networking event and the challenge that one of the members had was that he was going on holiday and he was nervous about not answering emails and getting back to people and asked what the etiquette was. The overwhelming response was that an out of office was acceptable and that people can wait and if there is anything urgent give them channels of people to go to in the office. Not only would it do him good to have a break but also his family needed him too for the time he was with them on holiday!

    • Simon Chaplin September 30, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

      Thanks Jenni. You have just reminded me of another story of another customer who was being “troubled” on holiday who successfully overcome that problem. Will share that in a future blog.

  3. Mark Lee September 30, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

    Great tip Simon
    Another way to avoid being tempted to check emails rather than work is to set your email client to only download them once every two hours

    Not so sure those of us providing services to clients will maintain their goodwill if we insist they resend emails that arrive while we’re on holiday.

    • Simon Chaplin September 30, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

      Thanks Mark.

      I thought the delete the emails was a bit aggressive but it has worked for him.

      Not sure I will be brave enough to do it the next time I go away.

  4. Trevor Wood October 1, 2014 at 8:28 pm #

    I’m currently working as 2nd line tech support with a client. I need to have my email client open all the time as support requests all come in by email. If I didn’t open my emails until lunch time, my morning would be very unproductive and my client would be very unhappy.

    Saying that though – I don’t have to check them every 10 minutes, 1 an hour is quite frequent enough

    • Simon Chaplin October 1, 2014 at 8:46 pm #

      Hi Trevor

      Thanks for contributing. There will be times when we need to check. I hope the blog is making people more conscious of when they do.

  5. Andy Cecil October 9, 2014 at 8:17 am #

    Hi Simon

    Great article! I have been working like this for some years. My experience has been similar to yours with a less stressed work day.

    Much of the pressure from emails is driven by fear, but an unfounded fear.

    Often, other peoples ineffective management of their work load results in them pushing the pressure down the line. I have found that managing my email response does result in others changing their habits which has always been a good experience.

    Where the occasional client has felt matters are more pressing, I encourage them to use email for non urgent items and call me if something truly requires an immediate response.

    Using out of office messages is another tool in the armoury. Use it, it works but use to educate the sender. For example, when they can expect an answer and who else they might contact.

    As you say, manage your email use and be amazed at the results

    • Simon Chaplin October 9, 2014 at 11:22 am #

      Great observations Andy. Forgot to mention using your “Out of Office” reponders in the artcle. Will share mine in a future post.

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