ScreamingHow many times do you look at your emails each day? Once, twice, every few minutes? Be honest because I’d safely bet that most people check their email at least 4 times an hour.

Agree or disagree? Maybe you should count the times you do in the next hour!

Email checking, when you let it, can become a huge distraction and it often leads to a decrease in your productivity.

Think about it. You are working on a project for a client. While you are working, your interest wanes slightly and you feel compelled to take a peek at your emails. What happens next?

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Your productivity level immediately lessens. You’ve chosen to grant your inbox permission to distract your attention, haven’t you? To what end? To see if you’ve received a new message or a reply from a client?

When you interrupt your work with email checking it is all too easy to lose your train of thought, as just one single email can take you off on a new tangent of thinking, moving you even further away from being able to return your productivity to a high level.

What can you do instead?

You know that it is important to take a break from work at regular intervals. There are times when you need to refocus and recharge your motivation and your thinking.

Do you take a regular break, at least once every 90 minutes?

Rather than remain seated at your desk as you trawl aimlessly through your emails, why not give my 5 minute productivity challenge a go?

One thing I will stress is that you physically move away from your usual work area to do your chosen 5 minute challenge activity.

Are you ready?

Here are 8 ways you can boost your productivity in just 5 minutes:challenges

1. Switch on the radio or your iPod and listen to your favourite song.

2. Read a few pages/chapters of a book

3. Grab a pad of paper and jot down your ideas for your next blog post

4. Stand up or lie down and stretch

5. On a sheet of paper brainstorm your life priorities for next week

6. Enjoy your 5 minute beverage break al fresco

7. Sit or lie down, close your eyes and meditate or simply focus on your breath.

8. See how many step-ups you can do

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Emails can wait. Challenge yourself to only check them twice a day – at noon and 5pm. Avoid email checking as the first activity of your working day as this can set you on a path of procrastination and low productivity.

Let me know how you get on setting your email routine and which productivity boost activity you find most useful. I look forward to your comments.