Like most small business owners, I consider email to be a necessary evil. I appreciate that it is essential for staying connected in today’s busy world, but it can also have a powerful impact on our productivity. How many times a day do you check your email and get lost among the messages?
The following these tips will help you to change your email habits and raise your productivity
- Read an email once and once only. Scanning an email and deciding to return to it later is a common habit. However, reading an email once and responding to it right away can increase your productivity.
- The OHIO acronym is useful for inbox management. OHIO stands for Only Hold It Once.
- Use automatic filtering and folder systems. Emails you receive on a consistent basis, such as e-zines and newsletters can be automatically filtered into their own folder. Then, you can control when you open and read them. This frees up more time to handle more important messages.
- Schedule specific times to handle email. Instead of checking email throughout the day, scheduling it at specific times enables you to get more done.
- Checking email before work, after work, and during a specific hour at work will reduce wasted time. Also, setting aside a certain amount of time, like 20 minutes, to do this task will help you stay focused.
- Keep email closed while working. Email is a frequent source of distractions, so keeping the tab closed is one way to increase productivity.
- Email providers use sounds, colors, bold font and other ways to notify you of new messages. All of these are distractions, so keeping email closed will help you stay on schedule and not waste time.
- Turning off email notifications on a phone is another way to stay focused on your work.
- Keep work and personal emails separate. Combining work with personal messages can create confusion. Separate emails and inboxes are essential for staying in control.
- Messages about client meetings shouldn’t be mixed up with emails about your child’s piano lessons. Sorting emails wastes time, so it’s easier to have them separated from the beginning.
- Write concise emails. Emails need to be concise and easy to read. This reduces follow-up questions, so your inbox stays smaller.
- Define, explain, and help in as few words as possible.
- Clean out the inbox regularly. Emails can accumulate quickly, so clean up is essential. Eliminating spam and older emails is the first step.
- Only keep the emails you need. This will cut down on the time you spend looking through the inbox. Productivity will increase because you aren’t sorting through older messages.
- Folders also require attention. Automatic filtering of emails can lead to a large group accumulating in each folder, so it’s important to check them frequently.
- Create standard responses. A standard response to an email reduces the time you spend writing and thinking about the message. Creating a group of general responses to common questions is an easy way to enhance time management.
- Watch videos and read articles at specific times. Emails that come with attachments like videos or articles require more attention.
- Unless they’re important, it’s better to watch videos and read articles at the end of the day. These tasks require more time and can be distractions. Focusing on answering actual messages during specific scheduled times is the key to staying productive.
- Change your email signature. The email signature should have the most important contact information.
- The email signature needs to be concise and easy to understand. Avoid distracting fonts and multiple colors in this area. The goal is to reduce follow-up emails and questions about contacting you.
Email habits can be changed to boost productivity. The inbox is a powerful way to stay connected and focused on work if you manage it effectively.
What steps do you take to manage your inbox? Let us know in the comments box.
Till Next Time
Mike Gardner – The Time Doctor
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