Email – 4 tips to Make it Work for you

Email - $ tips to make it work for youEmails can and do save many people a lot of time and money, but it has to be used in a way that is productive to the user, whilst at the same time not taking over their lives. It is very easy to fall prey to the downsides to using email as a means of communication. Are you one of those people who inadvertently destroy their productivity by constantly checking emails during the day, research shows that on average people spend 13 hours a week checking email? They’ve become addicted to emails and spend hours reading and replying, even to junk mails! And whilst we’re on the subject of junk mail, sorting the junk from the useful can become an all consuming activity.

Below you will find 4 tips to help you mange you email more effectively and efficiently.

1. Check your emails at regular times of the day.

Every time you check your email, you ‘re being dragged away from what you were doing, checking one email can cost you 20 mins of your time, 5 mins to check and deal with the email itself and a further 15 mins to get back to the productivity level you were previously at.

Set a schedule for when you will check and respond to emails. That might mean 30 minutes mid morning (not first thing), 30 minutes just after lunch, and 30 minutes just before you finish work. Set up a system that works for you, the important aspect is not when or how often you check, but not allowing your email account to be the time stealer that it is to many people.

2. Set up a “Frequently Asked Questions” page.

How many times are you are asked the same question by many different people, if you start noticing this trend, think about setting up a frequently asked questions page that you can direct people to instead of typing out the same responses in emails time and time again. They will tahnk you because they can get their answers very quickly and they will probably be able to find the answers to other questions they may have as well.

3. Reply briefly.

When you answer emails, keep them short and to the point, do not overcomplicate your answers, If someone asks you a series of questions cut and paste their email into your response and just add ‘Yes’ ‘No’ at the end of their questions. It is not being rude; you are making the best use of your time.

4. Use the phone.

Avoid the getting into email conversations, if you feel that an email is going that way, pick up the phone and talk to the person, or go to see them face to face, you will be able to answer their questions and avoid misunderstandings and save yourself time in the long run.

Till Next Time

Mike Gardner – The Time Doctor

"Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /".

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Mike Gardner - The Time Doctor

Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor helps the overworked and overwhelmed learn to say 'No' nicely, and improve their management of time, emails and meetings. He is also an avid fan of Aston Villa, a Dad of Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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8 thoughts on “Email – 4 tips to Make it Work for you

  1. Great advice Mike! I think email can be your best friend or worse enemy. I love the idea of enabling certain time periods for checking emails. I used to allocate first thing in the morning and at the end of the day in previous jobs I have had. I also think now with smart phones it is more of a hindrance as people sit their checking them every 5 minutes out of habit and when they see an email they feel almost compelled to respond. I love nothing better than actual phone conversations! Great advice, keep up the great work!
    Aaron Bourke recently posted…Ethics & Trust – Its Creation of Culture – Part 1My Profile

  2. Hey Mike, love this post. I used to work for a company that insisted all emails were dealt with at the end of every day so I kind of got into that rhythm now it’s in me and I can’t get out of it! Your tips are ace though as i know so many people who struggle with managing them. Oh what did we do before email eh? Oh yeah talked! Brilliant though. thanks
    Paula recently posted…6 ways to connect with people who are good for you!My Profile

  3. These are great key points that are very handy to refer to on a daily basis as a lot of jobs and the job I am currently working in relies on a lot by email but by also utilising time with using the phone also helps create that personal touch. Thank you :)

  4. The problem with sending emails is that you get emails back! Great tip to only check emails at certain times – I am going to give that a shot at implementing – thanks Mike.

  5. At my job, which requires written documentation of a lot of discussions, email is the main tool my employer offers right now for discussions that can and need to be be documented. So we are expected to have our email open and respond quickly if it is concerning a high priority project. But even at work, I use the “reply briefly” as much as I can, including simple answers at the end of each question (copied and pasted). (I fully agree there are things better discussed by phone, with the possibility of a short, confirming email for the written record, and I do do that when I can.) At home, I do not constantly check emails unless I know there is an important family situation in progress. And even then, the younger family members will text and not email. Overall, excellent ideas.
    Alana recently posted…Sustainable Saurday – The Sound of SilenceMy Profile

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