A staggering 269 billion emails are sent every day. Your business is receiving only a small fraction of those emails. Yet your staff likely feel as if at least 269 of those are coming their way daily. In fact, the typical employee in 2018 received 90 emails, and sent out 40.
Email is a powerful tool. But its help with doing business ever faster creates added business pressure. Consider these five strategies for better email management.
- Don't start your day with email. Many people do. It's how they set up for the day. However, beginning the day with a cup of coffee and clicking through your inbox, can backfire. Many of those emails become items on your to-do list. You put off important tasks from your day responding to other people's requests. Plan your day around your business needs first. Even knock off some of the more important tasks, before diving into that inbox!
- Think twice about checking email constantly. It's tempting to open emails as soon as they arrive. But, you only want to tackle your inbox when you have the time to take action. If you open an email planning to get back to it later, you'll likely forget. When you have to revisit an email to remind yourself what it's about, you're doubling the time you spend on that message. Avoid interrupting your momentum by turning off email alert notifications and phone badges. Instead, set regular times to read and respond to accumulated emails.
- Write clear, concise emails. Avoid contributing to a colleague's inbox chaos. Provide as much relevant information as possible. That doesn't mean you need to write a War and Peace-length email. Focus your message for your audience, anticipate questions, and answer in that email. Starting the message with an informative subject line can make a big difference too.
- Save time with reusable messages. Chances are you have at least a few emails that you send out are very similar to eachother. Why bother with re-typing them every time? You can help save time by creating template emails that you can have at the ready to provide those relevant details. Depending on the email client you use you may be able to create these templates straight away or you may need a plug-in.
- Use filters and folders to sort email. Use automatic filtering to move your messages into the appropriate folders. For example, if the email is from firstname.lastname@example.org then send it to your "Accounting" folder. This can save hundreds of hours a year. The better your folder system, the less time you'll spend looking for specific emails the you need them. In Outlook for example, you can also set up a filter to change the color of email for different senders. Your boss could be red, and you'd know to handle that one first. Also save time by setting up strong filters for junk and spam. Unsubscribe from mailing lists that you don't need any longer. Cleaning out the clutter can make your inbox much less overwhelming.
Email is an essential tool in business today. Don't let it become a drain on your energy and attention. Make the most of the time you spend in your inbox with smart strategies for email management.
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