How to manage your email and remain focused in your life

Using texts, email, Facebook, twitter and other social media platforms we can now be in constant contact. This is great but it can be overwhelming. The smartphone made all this communication even more accessible. You can now read this blog post on your mobile, email someone and use social media, wherever you are. I love technology and I love all these different ways I can communicate and share with people all over the world. As a yogi I also don’t want to let the technology overwhelm and distract my mind. As a busy, self employed yoga teacher I don’t want it to undo my productivity. As a human being I don’t want it to take over my life.

I still remember being taught how to write an email. It wasn’t that long ago. I was 18 and it was 1998 and yet now 15 years later it is rare to find someone who doesn’t use email at all.  Many of us receive hundreds of emails a day. The invention and growing popularity of the smart phone makes email even more accessible throughout the day.

As a busy professional who moves around teaching yoga this is great.  My iPhone and more recently my ipad allows me to interact with my students wherever I am.

The first few years I had my iPhone I had it set to automatically update my inbox. So every time I got an email it would go bing. Bing……bing, all day long. After a while I  became conditioned to the bing. Actually when you’re in the middle of some work it can be a welcome distraction to check your email but utterly unproductive. If your inbox is busy you could spend your entire day checking email. Believe me I have been there.

Sometimes your brain needs a break from all this bombardment. Some tasks require you to focus your mind in an uninterrupted way. Your job may require you to keep up to date with emails.  Mine does. I love getting emails from my students, it’s a great way to communicate with them outside of class. So what’s the answer? Here is some tips that have helped me.
Check emails 1 -5 times per day. I check mine around 3 times but what works for you will depend on your job.


  • If an email is urgent or can be responded in less than 3 minutes, reply straight away.
  • Have a folder for emails that you don’t want to respond to or read straight away. Check this folder daily – read, respond, delete or file.
  • Delete unwanted email.
  • Clear your inbox daily, your mind will get clearer too.
  • If you need to really focus on something place your phone on silent

It’s good to be flexible, rather than rigid. When on holiday I check my email once daily. If I am having an important email conversation I might check it more often. If it gets out of hand I go back to my rules. What is important is to fully engage with whatever you are doing.  When checking email, check email, when writing write, when thinking, think – focus your mind, be here, you can not be everywhere – here is where it is at.Do you find emails distracting? How often do you check your email in day? Do you have any emailing tips?


About Helen Aldred

Helen Aldred practices and teaches ashtanga yoga in Liverpool. She loves to share and discuss yoga, as well as health and wellbeing. Follow her on twitter and join Ashtanga yoga Liverpool's Facebook community .


  1. I have my iPhone on silent when I practice, but it still does a little vibrate, so although no noisy bing boing I’m still aware of an email arriving. The VIP feature on iPads is useful as it differentiates an email you may want to read as opposed to notifications, adverts and spam.

    That said I really like email,it’s much easier and cheaper to keep in touch with friends all over the world these days.

  2. Thanks for your comment Kevin. I have set my phone so it doesn’t vibrate and so when it’s on silent it really is. I hadn’t heard of the VIP feature on iPads. Sounds good, thanks for the tip!

  3. The VIP shows on your Contacts, there is a VIP button. If you receive email from someone not in your address contacts if you just touch the address in the email header it brings up an option to make it a VIP. when a VIP contact email arrives it gives a shrill bird like tone which differentiates it from the usual

  4. I totally agree…technology is absolutely amazing these days for what it enables us to do – connect with friends and family, receive important messages and emails there and then, be able to send messages, emails, etc, etc….list is endless. However……..( here comes my mini rant!) our society has become consumed by the technology of today….iPhones, iPads, bbm, what’s app, instagram, etc, and again, whilst all have the most amazing advantages, it can become TOO consuming in terms of taking away our time. It is very rare these days to see somebody without a phone in hand and even rarer to see people sitting socially and just talking they way we did before all this ‘magic’ (!) was invented! Because of my hearing impairment I’ve never been able to use a phone to speak to people, so I am reliant upon text and email…and whilst I AM very grateful I have those resources at hand, I am also even more grateful that I am not subjected to the beeps, pings, rings, and even musical alerts that the rest of you may all have to put up with ( deafness does have its advantages

  5. Just realised only half of my comments post is on!!!! I added on a lot more, but dont know what has happened to it or why it isnt showing up! ….it did make more sense with the rest added to it….!!! How ironic….talking of the advantages (and woes) of technology…and when I think it has been sent…only half is actually showing! I can’t recall what else I added….but I did say something about….always turning off phones and iPads during practise, as even if they are turned to silent or vibrate, they are still ON. By switching them off totally our mind is made aware that we are free from any tugs, thus allowing us to relax further and immerse ourselves during our time on the mat. Hope these 2 posts together make sense!

  6. Hey Jules,

    Yes totally agree, it is important to have a conversation with people without being distracted by your phone. It is a wonderful resource and a great way to communicate. It can easily take over if we are not careful. My phone is often on silent (vibrate off), that way I can choose when to engage with it rather than feeling constantly bombarded. I agree regarding turning your phone completely off during practice. I think one of the advantages of yoga offers us in this busy modern world is some time to turn off the phone reconnect with ourselves.

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