Tips for Mastering Email
Whether you’re an employee, an entrepreneur, a manager or even simply use email in your personal life, email is one of the BIGGEST time sucks ever invented.
Studies show that individuals who check their email every five minutes lose 8.5 hours per week recovering their train of thought. What more important things could you be doing in these 8.5 hours a week?
Below you will find a number of tried-and-true tricks for minimizing the time you waste on emails. This one change could completely transform your life. Really!
NARROW IT DOWN: When you first open your emails, delete all spam and unnecessary emails. Then it will be easier to see what you need to address and it won’t look so overwhelming.
What type of emails do you regularly receive that you do NOT need to look at or deal with, ever? Delete these first!
PRIORITIZATION: Prioritize incoming email the first time you open your email, marking high priority ones. Then, establish dedicated windows of time for responding to these emails, in priority order.
What types of emails (or from whom) are the most important?
Which ones are necessary for you to deal with right away?
Which ones can be saved for later, during a pre-determined email-responding time?
TOUCH IT ONCE: As an alternative to the above strategies, consider a “touch it once” email philosophy. It’s like when cleaning your house. If you pick up an item, put it away the first time you touch it. Don’t just move it to another pile. With emails, avoid duplicate efforts… when you see it for the first time… do it, delegate it, schedule it, or delete it.
Would this strategy of either deleting, forwarding, responding to, or otherwise dealing with each email in the order they were received make your email situation WORSE or BETTER?
STOP BEING OCD: Don’t check email obsessively. Restrict yourself to no more than once per hour. 1 to 2 times per day is idea. Common times are first thing in the morning (set a time limit!), after lunch, and right before you leave for the day.
What 1 or 2 times per day will you set aside for emails (and how much time each)?
Do you tend to click over and view your email window regularly to see if new messages have come in? If so, CLOSE your email program completely to resist temptation.
NO MORE NOTIFICATIONS: Turn off the notification that pops up to tell you you’ve received an email. It distracts you from what you’re working on and will tempt you to interrupt yourself to go and read it. By turning off notifications you can resist the OCD tendency to check it all day long and waste your time and decrease your focus and productivity.
Where do you receive your emails? Outlook? Thunderbird? Your phone? Do you have notifications that pop up or alert you when you’ve received an email? TURN IT OFF! It could be the greatest decision you ever made.
AVOID MORNING EMAILS: According to Constant Contact, 80% of smart phone users check their email before brushing their teeth. This is great if it’s your promotional email that they’re reading. It’s not great if it’s how YOU begin your day.
Have you ever had checking your email in the morning backfire because of getting bad news or distracted?
If checking your email in the morning is a habit, what can you identify the benefits would be if you stopped?
What could you do in the morning INSTEAD that would put you in a good mood and start your day off focused and relaxed?
DIVIDE AND CONQUER: Set up separate email addresses for different elements of your business, such as customer inquiries, marketing, business contacts, etc. This way you can focus on one thing at a time.
What different segments of what you do could you create different email addresses for?
Are you ready to create WORK-LIFE BALANCE? Get Started!