Email is a fantastic way for us to communicate and do business, but if we’re not careful it can very easily become one of the biggest time draining tasks we do! Like everything else, it is important we manage the way we use our email so we are using our time effectively and not spending hours traipsing through email after email.
So how do you stop your inbox from becoming full of emails? And how to do you prevent yourself getting lost in checking and responding to emails? Just follow these simple but effective email management tips from The Time Doctor!
Don’t be a slave to your email inbox
Checking emails every time you hear a ‘ping!’ on your device is not a good use of your time; it takes you away from the work you are currently doing, which in turn can have a knock-on effect for the rest of the day. Give yourself a time in the day to check your emails and stick to it. It can be 10 minutes in the morning, at lunch and in the afternoon, or it could be 30 minutes at the start or end of the day. Whatever you decide, stick to your new schedule. If it helps, turn off the ‘pings!’
De-clutter your inbox
Having a clear inbox at the end of the working day can make your non-working time far less stressful, so it’s time for a clear out! If you have thousands of emails in your inbox your best bet is to choose a date and delete every email prior to that – after all, do you really have time to read thousands of emails? Once you have done that you’ll need to go through the more recent emails, which may have some value. Sort them into folders: To Do, To Respond To, To Read and Waiting For Response. File your emails accordingly. Now during your allotted email time you can first respond to any new and urgent emails, and file the rest. In the time you have left (and you might need to allow more time for this in the beginning, just to get up to date) you can start working your way through the folders. Add to-do items to your planner or to-do list, respond to emails that require attention, check out those sales, and catch up on your reading.
Manage multiple email accounts under one roof
It’s rare within business now that we only use one email address, so to keep managing them all as easily as possible try to keep your emails directed to one place e.g. an Outlook or Google account. This way you will be able to manage all of your emails from one account, saving you time going back and forward checking different pages.
Use email for what it’s good at
Email isn’t the answer to everything, sometimes we need to evaluate what we are sending and ask ourselves could it be done another way? For example, project management via email is highly inefficient. Emails get lost, instructions are misplaced and files go missing. A far better idea is to implement a project management system such as Basecamp to handle all the back-and-forth of a project in development. Not only will it help keep your email under control, but it will keep everything more organized and efficient as well.
Till Next Time,
The Time Doctor – Mike Gardner.