Let’s say that you are working at your home in an office or other room designated for doing some work. You realize that tomorrow is garbage day. So you empty your trash sitting beside you, go through the rest of the house and do the same, and then sit back down to work.
You jot some notes down on a piece of paper and decide you don’t need them. So you throw the paper away, into the trash can you just emptied. Do you then empty the trash can again right away? Nobody would do that. You’d never get anything done. Instead, you let the trash collect, and then empty it again at a designated time in about a week.
Yet, when it comes to email, many of us insist on “taking out the trash” continually. This amounts to a continual interruption. You wouldn’t take the trash out every time you throw something away. Likewise, don’t check your email every time something new comes in. Best of all, shut it down between those times if possible, or at least minimize the window and turn off the bell.
(Nuance: I know that there are occassions when it does pay off to keep processing new messages right away, such as when you are in the middle of a conversation thread with some folks. But I’m saying: Don’t make continual checking your ongoing, default, general mode of opeation.)