Weekly Quick Tips

Manage Your Email

It seems we have a love/hate relationship with our inbox. However, if we don’t take control of our email, it controls us, our time and our life. When you get an e-mail that you don’t immediately know what to do with, it’s easy to close it, and move on to the next one. But that ‘I’ll deal with this later’ attitude is probably the reason you have e-mail overload. Your inbox is not storage, it’s not your calendar, it’s not your to-do list, and it’s not your mind tickler. Clean out all that mess and ask yourself, ‘How should I organize my inbox in a useful way?’

Here are our top ten proven tips on managing email:

1. Avoid checking email first thing in the morning. Work on priority task first.

2. Turn visual/auditory notification off to avoid distractions and multi-tasking.

3. Checking email takes longer than you think. Enforce a time limit by using a timer.

4. Empty inbox daily. The inbox should be used for new email only. You wouldn’t open snail mail and then put it back in the mailbox, so avoid reading email and leaving it in your inbox; act on it immediately:

* Decide what the first action is: reply, forward, file or delete.
* Reply immediately if you can do it in 2 minutes or less.
* For longer emails, or when you require more information, transfer to action  folders and schedule time in your calendar to act on them.
* Some emails require no action. Delete or file as soon as you read.

5. For quicker responses, stick to one subject per email. Change subject line when you change topic, for easier filing/retrieving.

6. Be brief and to the point when sending emails. Start with what action you need the recipient to take. If longer than three paragraphs, call instead.

7. To save time and effort, create templates for common responses.

8. Limit FYIs and CCs, and don’t ‘respond to all’ unless the email warrants it. Don’t clog the inboxes of friends and co-workers. 

9. Check at scheduled times, a few times a day. We’re teaching people how to treat us by responding to emails instantly, 24-7.

10. Unsubscribe to anything that does not add value to your life, and do it regularly.

Email can be a great time-saver if used correctly. Once you have your email under control, you’ll be amazed at how much more productive your days will become.Copyright © 2013 Organizing Lives ® All rights are reserved and no part of this article may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any means unless expressly stated otherwise, or except with the written permission of Organizing Lives®. Enquires should be directed to: info@orgliv.mybusinesshub.ca