Do you feel overwhelmed with your e-mail inbox? Is it managing you? Professionals waste up to a month each year reading and writing e-mails. Yikes! And as you know -- e-mail will suck up as much time as you allow it to.
We are hit with more and more information these days than ever before. AND it is humanly impossible to absorb! Here are 5 strategies to help you take control of your inbox time, and be more productive in your business than ever before!
1. Reduce E-mail Volume: The first way to do this is to send less e-mail. When you send less, you get less. Limit your reply to all, and ask yourself why am I sending this, and is it necessary? Look at what you are sending out, and see if you can merge numerous emails into one or two. Only send out messages with purpose and relevance.
2. Reduce Work Flow Interruptions: Set up auto route settings in your email, with folders for low priority and personal. Schedule a time to check these folders that suits you, and only check these folders in the designated time you choose. E.g.) 1x day, week, ECT. Keep only high priority emails in your inbox. Let people know your schedule with e-mail, and to use the phone and call you if it's an emergency.
3. Disconnect Email Alerts: Once you block out the constant interruptions of email alerts, you will be free to focus on the task at hand you are working on, and will become more productive. We create our best ideas when we can put full focus on what we are doing without interruption. By turning off the alerts, you will create a quieter working environment, be able to do the deep thinking you need to, and will get more done.
4. Change your Send and Receive Schedule: Set a check time of every 45 minutes or so. You will always respond to an important email within an hour. It is better to take 10-15 minutes of full focus on checking your e-mail and responding, then being constantly interrupted, and forcing your brain to think about too many things at once. We are as humans naturally more excited for the "new", but in getting caught up in the new emails every 5 minutes, it is preventing us from looking at what is necessary.
5. Let People know what you want in an email: Help others by sharing what you look for in an email, and letting them know what you are doing with managing email. As them if there is anything you could be doing differently that would help them with the email they receive from you. Ask how they feel about their email issues. Share ideas of how to create a better email relationship.
Finally, let's clear your inbox, and set a goal number in mind you would like that you feel would be a comfortable amount of email to deal with at your designated time. Strive to keep your emails at or below this number.
Here's Some Thoughts On Clearing your Inbox and Clearing Your Mind:
• If you can do it quickly get it done first. Sweep through email that take 2 minutes or less.
• Defer the messages you need to get to but can't right now to a folder and have a set time to address those emails.
• Use a follow up flag on emails you wish to be alerted to at a specific time.
• Delegate the emails to others that you can complete the task.
• Delete - Sort oldest to newest, and delete anything irrelevant, or information that is easily accessible from another source. Only keep important information.
Once you take back your control over your email, you will find you will be getting more work done, at a higher quality. This is because you are giving full attention to the task at hand, allowing yourself to reach full potential without distraction. You may be quite surprised to find how much extra time you will actually have by following these steps.