Emails 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