A staggering 269 billion emails are sent every day. In fact, the typical business employee in 2018 received 90 emails (excluding those pesky spam emails of course), and sent out 40 – and each year the figure goes higher.
Email is a powerful tool but it can easily get out of hand. Here are 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 can put off important tasks from your day responding to other people’s requests.
Try to plan your day around your needs first. Even do 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 aim 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, try to set regular times to read and respond to accumulated emails.
Write clear, concise emails.
Avoid contributing to someone else’s Inbox chaos by providing as much relevant information as possible. Now, that doesn’t mean writing a War and Peace-length email – just 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, rather than a generic one, e.g. instead of having a subject line saying “Update” and then going into your email, say what the Update is about, so that the person at the other end knows what it is and when to open it.
Save time with reusable messages.
You often end up answering the same questions over and again. Create templated emails that you can have at the ready to provide relevant details. Depending on your email software, this capability may be built in or you may need to add a plug-in.
Use filters and folders to sort email.
Learn how to use automatically filter 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, you can also set up a filter to change the colour 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, although be careful here that you are unsubscribing from emails that you actually subscribed to in the first place! Some spammers send emails with ‘unsubcribe’ links, but if you click on that link, you are merely confirming to them that you have a valid and active email address for further spam.
Cleaning out the clutter can make your Inbox much less overwhelming.
Email is an essential tool today, especially in business. 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.
Need help selecting the right email or setting up useful mailbox management tools? Give us a call on 01455 209505.