A never-ending inbox of emails is the cause of long working hours, stressed out managers and procrastination. It is also the reason why many people feel that they are so ‘busy’ when in fact they are often busy doing the wrong things. A full, un-manageable inbox can distract you from what you should be doing. Here are a few tips for managing email.
Read Emails in Batches
Identify two time slots in your working day to read and respond to emails. This may not be possible every day, but gain some consistency when you check in to your mails. For the rest of the day focus on getting things done and don’t worry about your inbox. If something is urgent, they can always telephone you. By introducing a bit of structure you will be more productive and will focus on your priorities.
Switch Off Any Alerts
If you structure your day with ‘email time’ as above, you don’t need to know when you receive a new email. Switch off email alerts on your smartphone or computer. You control your inbox – your inbox can’t be allowed to control you with notifications and flashing red lights!
If you want to receive less emails, send less emails
It sounds obvious, but the reason many people receive lots of emails is because they spend so much time sending them out. Reducing your output will have an impact on how many emails you receive. Try picking up the phone for a change. If you have a team or colleagues, get up from your desk and walk over to talk to them. You may achieve a lot more simply by having a conversation with the right person.
Use your ‘Out of Office’
Manage expectations. When you are on holiday, you probably use an ‘Out of Office’ response to tell people you are away. When you come back you are then faced with a mountain of emails and may feel overwhelmed. Next time you are away, leave your out of office on for an extra day or two after you get back to allow you to catch up on emails that came in while you were away.