An NYSE exec who spent a week resisting email for 7 hours a day quickly caved to her inbox, but took away a productivity strategy she uses to this day

betty liu

Betty Liu, an executive at the New York Stock Exchange, once tried an experiment in which she didn’t check her email from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The experiment caused her to stay up late responding to the huge backlog of emails, and she abandoned it after one week.
She did pick up one good habit from the productivity experiment: keeping a to-do list of emails to send and writing them all at once.

The average office worker receives more than 100 emails a day, and replying to every one of them could easily waste hours of your day.

But when one entrepreneur tried a radical trick to reduce her email time and increase her productivity, she found it was just too hard of a habit to keep up.

Betty Liu, the executive vice chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, said that for one week in 2016, she refrained from checking her email between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

“It definitely helped, but it wasn’t as much the resounding success as I thought it would be,” Liu told Business Insider. “I think I felt there were moments if I wasn’t on email, something would have just turned out very bad. So I think the aspiration was better than the reality of it.”

Read more: A New York Stock Exchange exec uses the ‘1-3-5 rule’ to eliminate lingering guilt over an unfinished to-do list

Liu said she got the idea from Tom Patterson, the founder and CEO of the underwear company Tommy John, whom she had recently interviewed for her company Radiate, an online library of educational videos about leadership and management. At the time, Liu was also an anchor for Bloomberg TV.

Patterson told Liu that when people email him during work hours, he simply doesn’t read them. Instead, they get an automated response that says, “I am currently checking email before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. EST so there will be a delayed response. If this is urgent please call or text.”

“It’s been great for people who know that I won’t respond for a certain period of time,” Patterson told Liu, she said in an article for Inc. “It makes people more comfortable. They stop wondering ‘Did he get the email?’ or ‘Did it go to spam?’ There’s more certainty.”

But when Liu tried the experiment herself, she encountered trouble right off the bat.

On the first day, although she did manage to go the full seven hours without checking her inbox, she discovered a “daunting” number of messages waiting for her when the clock struck 5 p.m. She wrote in a LinkedIn post that she didn’t finishing replying to them all until 10:48 p.m.

Worse yet, to outside observers, her absence from email chains made it look like she was slacking off.

“One of my colleagues asks if I’m enjoying my ‘mani-pedi’ time. It’s funny how people equate not answering your emails with goofing off all day,” she wrote.

On another day, once the 5 p.m. moratorium was lifted, she got so caught …read more

Source:: Business Insider – Finance

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