Without question, e-mail can be a huge time-sink, but I am surprised by the number of people who still treat it as some sort of outside influence, a thief whose only purpose is to steal time. One may also waste a great deal of time on the telephone—in fact, it’s my opinion that e-mail is a more efficient way of communicating that telephone, in most instances— but I have yet to see anyone advise that telephone messages should be returned only once per day. It would be bad advice indeed to say that one should begin his or her workday by returning any messages that may be found in voicemail and then unplug the phone for the duration of the day. Seems pretty unlikely that customers, clients, co-workers, or employers would appreciate much all of the time I’m “saving” by having only one set time during the day in which I “do” telephone.
Why would anyone think that e-mail is any different?