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