Making Business Matter (MBM)
E1 - Email Overload? Try 'The Hare and the Tortoise System for Managing Emails'
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E1 – Email Overload? Try ‘The Hare and the Tortoise System for Managing Emails’

Get on top of your emails, and get the deep work done with this new technique for managing emails.

Man squatting whilst holding very heavy weights and struggling

Email overload can mean that you don’t get the deep work done that will make the real difference

The email Monster is taking over. He is out of its cage. Listen to this podcast to find out about the hare and the tortoise technique. A new tool required in this digital age to manage the daily onslaught of emails. Tame the email monster once and for all.

Screenshot of MBM YouTube video on The Hare and the Tortoise

The Hare and the Tortoise System for Managing Emails

Read the Managing Emails Transcript Below:

“I want to share a story, a story about the hare and the tortoise. But the hare and the tortoise are having a race about email. My name is Darren. You’re at The Home of Sticky Learning NBM.”

“You’ve all heard about the hare and the tortoise. Well, it’s about email overload. It’s fast becoming the main reason of stress and it’s overwhelming. Most people, they can’t get away from feeding the email monster. It just keeps growing. No matter how much you seem to clear the emails, they just don’t stop.”

We’re Not Getting the Deep Work Done

“The challenge is that we don’t get the deep work done. Cal Newport wrote a book called Deep Work, and it’s all about doing the stuff that makes the big difference. It’s very easy to skim across the day being busy in inverted commas getting stuff done, but just clearing the emails.”

“Now the problem with that assumption is that doing the emails delivers the biggest impact, and it doesn’t because whatever comes in on email, comes in on email and it’s not necessarily what makes the big difference to why you’re on the payroll. You’re on the payroll to make money for your business, and the emails don’t necessarily do that.”

About the Hare and Tortoise Method of Managing Emails

“So the hare and the tortoise is all about splitting up the clock face, and it’s deep work and shallow work. So imagine a clock face 12:00 around to 12:20. That 20-minute segment in an hour, that’s when you can do the hare work. Run really quickly, getting emails done, as many as you can and as effectively as you can 12:00 until 12:20. Now in the other 40 minutes of the clock, 12:21 right around to 12:59, that’s when you do the deep work. That’s when you’re like the tortoise. You’re making a big difference.”

How It Works

“So the clock face is split into two, the right-hand side, 12:00 to 12:20 is the hare, and from 12:21 the 40-minute segment back up to the top is tortoise time. Now what this does is a number of things. It gets you to consider that there is deep work and shallow work. It gets you to not check your emails as often as you do. Some people are checking them every 15 minutes, although I know some people who are never out of it.”

Turning It into a Habit

“In order to make this a habit, you probably need to draw a clock face on a Post-it note and stick it on your laptop. There are some images we’ll put on our website, so you can see this. Simply look up the Hare and the Tortoise System for managing the email overload.”

“And the third reason this works is that what it only could do is realize that by doing the tortoise work, you’ll make the biggest difference because this is the work that takes the time. It takes the thought. It takes you away from emails. And getting that stuff done is really important because that’s why you’re on the payroll. Delivering your job won’t happen through email. It just won’t. It happens by putting the thought and the time into the big projects that we all procrastinate and put off because they’re hard.”

Final Thoughts

“So good luck with the Hare and the Tortoise System. We’ll also help you by writing that up on our blog, so you can see it with some images. So again, just look up the Hare and the Tortoise System for managing email overload. Best of luck.”


For further tips and information, you can take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Time Management Skills and our Time Management Skills YouTube Channel.  Also, take a look at our award-winning blog where you can read our review of ‘Deep Work’ by Cal Newport.

We are delighted to announce that our Podcast: Personal Development Tips told through Short and Sticky Stories was selected as one of the Top 10 Negotiation Podcasts on the web by Feedspot.