10 Email Habits That Will See Your Productivity Skyrocket

10 email habits to boost productivityLike 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

  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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


P.S – I appreciate you’re busy, and can’t always visit, so if you’d like to receive notifications of my blog posts via e-mail please register in the box on the side of this page.

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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8 thoughts on “10 Email Habits That Will See Your Productivity Skyrocket

  1. Because my job requires written documentation, and because I work with remote co workers, I can get overwhelmed with emails. It’s been a challenge for years because, with certain projects, emails require immediate responses. I can’t just schedule times to read. I usually organize emails by project, but I may think about doing that in other ways. I am fortunate in that my position doesn’t require I carry a smartphone but many in my company have to.
    Alana recently posted…OrdinaryMy Profile

  2. Your idea of only checking emails at certain times of the day is good, as is only reading them once. So often, I save one to read later and when I go back, I find I don’t need the information. Thanks for showing us how to save time.

  3. I think a lot of people underestimate the time-suck that is “email.” I know I’m guilty of checking it way too often, especially if I’m waiting to hear back from a client or waiting on a payment. Turning it off is the only way to really keep it in check, for me. I have started doing a morning, noon, evening check, but I need to organize my inbox. Unfortunately, I’ve let my personal and business emails comingle, and the resulting offspring is an enormous, messy inbox, lol! I’ve shared this on my FB page, because I know a lot of my friends are guilty of this, too!
    Jessica B Woods recently posted…Sophomore Slump and Getting FocusedMy Profile

  4. Great tips, Mike! I do best if I get straight to work without checking email first thing in the morning. I’ve also cut down on the times per day I check it.

    I haven’t done much of the OHIO thing, that one is a bit harder to get used to. 😉
    Patti Stafford recently posted…Your Content Needs a PurposeMy Profile

    • Hi Sue,

      My first stop is one of three folders set up, if I cant completely deal with an email there and then it goes into either @Action Required, @pending or @waiting for response, I also have another folder @to read later for ezines, newsletters etc