Email overload? 4 Tips to manage your email better

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Your inbox is flooding with emails all day long. What do you do? With so many things going on it can become extremely difficult to answer 20 or 30 messages a day.

Follow these time management tips to keep your inbox in check and say goodbye to letting your email control your life.

 

Email overload? What not to do

 

There are some people who are slaves to their email. They have a bell that goes off each time a new message comes in, whatever they are doing they turn immediately to their inbox to check it.

In effect, they “switch tasks” and then return to what it was they were doing, immediately losing momentum, clarity and output on their most important tasks.

You will be much more productive if you set out time to answer all of your emails at once than to answer them each as they come.

 

Email management tip #1: Answer them all at the same time

 

When answering email, bundle them all together and do them at the same time. Don’t answer them as they come in. Do all your similar tasks at the same time rather than doing a little bit now and a little bit later.

Batching your tasks simply means doing similar things at the same time. There exists a “learning curve” in everything you do. When you complete a series of similar or identical tasks all in a row, the learning curve enables you to reduce the time required to complete each task by as much as 80 percent by the time you complete the fifth identical task.

 

Managing email tip #2: Short and sweet responses

 

You should make a decision not to allow your inbox to control your life, like the tail wagging the dog. Instead, discipline yourself to use your email as a business tool. Make your responses quick and to the point.

If your responses are quick, it will free up more time to get through more emails and make all correspondence easier to read.

 

Email management tip #3: Create labels and filers

If you manage multiple email addresses on one account, create a filter and label for each account. This way you will know what emails are personal and which ones are business related. You can save personal messages for later without having to read through them. This will leave you with your more important tasks.

 

Email management tip #4: Check it twice a day

 

Manage your email only twice a day or less. Even better, leave your email off on the weekends and spend more time with your family and friends, and in your personal activities.

Check it once in the morning after you have been at work for a few hours, answer any new emails you may have. This will free up your morning for the most important things you have to do for the day.

Check it once more in the late afternoon after lunch. After that, leave it alone until tomorrow and focus on all of the other work that you have to get done.

Some of the most productive people I know have an automatic response to their email. It says something like, “I only answer my email twice a day because of my busy schedule. If you have sent me an email, I will get back to you as soon as I possibly can. If this is an emergency, call this number and speak to this person.”

 

Conclusion

 

Follow these time management tips for email and say goodbye to stressing out over that number in your inbox that is running your life.

 

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5 Comments on "Email overload? 4 Tips to manage your email better"

  1. Found your post via a search I have that looks for articles on Email Overload.
    I agree with your recommendations to do “batching”, to keep responses “short”, using “labels” and “filters” and, perhaps most importantly, to reduce “checking frequency”. I actually have a small site where I outline many of the key issues around Email Overload, as well as many of the best approaches and solutions to better manage your Inbox, which I developed as a result of my personal interest in this area and research I have performed around this challenge facing many of us in the business world . Feel free to check it out for ideas and resources at: http://www.EmailOverloadSolutions.com
    Solutions generally fall into three high-level categories: “Organizational” (corporate rules and norms), “Behavioral” (how you respond and interact with Email), and “Technical” (using features and functions to maximize your efficiency). The best solutions to Email Overload combine all three areas, as the issues of Email Overload cross into many different areas and challenge different people in various ways.
    Regards,
    Dr. Michael Einstein

    • Hello Michael!

      Visited your site, thanks, found some useful feachers…
      Can you give me advice to solve my main problem:
      I’ve got my schedule and tasklist in comp at work in Outlook. It’s ethernet and email on this com only (no internet) cos of info safety reasons… Sometimes i need have a look at schedule and todo list outside office. I’ cannt integrate mobile with Outlook in work comp…. Do you know any desigion?

  2. Not sure I fully follow your question, but let me try.
    If you are using Outlook at work for your calendar and task list (which is what I use), then there are a few options to use it outside of the office.
    1) If you have a laptop that you use at work for accessing Outlook, you can always run Outlook in “offline” mode and still have access to your calendar and tasks.. You can even add new tasks and appointments when “offline” and not connected to your outlook server. When you go back into the office, then outlook should “Sync” all those new tasks with your server and you will be all updated.
    2) In our company, we have “Outlook Web Access”, which is a “web” version of Outlook that you can access and still get access to your Outlook account. You won’t have any of your “personal folders”, but you will have access to your Inbox, Contacts, Tasks, and Calendar. This is something that your technology department can explore, since this is a product offered by Microsoft for Outlook Server systems.
    3) Lastly, there are Blackberry, Android, and iPhone versions of Outlook that you can get that will actually “Sync” with our corporate outlook server. Again, your technology department needs to configure these, but this is a good way to stay ‘in touch’ with your key Outlook data while on the go.

    Hope some of this helps.
    Best Regards,
    Michael

  3. Hello Michael!

    Thank you a lot for your reply.
    I’ll explain my situation more wide…
    Outlook Web Access is prohibited in company because of security policy…
    I can’t sync my laptop with workplace computer because of security policy…
    I’m searching some way to save schedule and tasklist from Outlook to some file before business trip and load it to laptop (via USB or email). So I’ll have it to look and correct when it need during trip…
    I think it must be some way, but I can’t find it :(

  4. That is a tough situation if they won’t let you have access to Outlook Web Access and won’t let you sync your laptop computer due to security policy.
    My only suggestion is to see if your system will allow you to “export” your outlook file.
    If you go to “File” and then “Options” and then “Advanced” and then scroll down to “Export”, you can see if you can choose “Export to a file”.
    If you can export your Outlook file to a “.pst”, then if you run Outlook on a different laptop, then you can add that as a new Email file into that local version of Outlook. Another option is to export it as a “CSV” or some other type of file, and perhaps find another program that can import it in and view it. There are probably some other Email programs that can import information from Outlook, although I have never looked myself.
    But if your company is so worried about security, my guess is that they probably disabled the ability to export your Outlook file as an option.
    Tough one, but maybe one of these approaches will help.
    Good luck!
    Michael

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