Is your email inbox out of control?
The endless barrage of emails can be one of the consistently stressful tasks of the workplace. When you get hundreds of emails each day there is bound to be productivity loss.
The ramifications of an overflowing inbox go beyond increased stress, it can affect your efficiency and inevitably your productivity.
If you’re inundated with emails, it is possible to gain control. You might want to rethink your methods for organising your emails and emptying your inbox. Developing ways to process your emails can enable you to gain greater control, improve your response time and keep up with important actions and due dates.
Following are some specific strategies to help you manage your emails that follow the Personal Efficiency Program approach.
Strategy 1 - Do It Now
It is better to handle each email only once before you take action. You should decide what to do with it and where to put.
Using the 4Ds model can be an effective strategy:
1. Delete it
2. Do it
3. Delegate it
4. Defer it
Strategy 2 - Process one item at a time, starting at the top
Set a plan of attack. Sort your emails by order in which you will process them. For example, you could filter by date, subject, sender or receiver. Resist the temptation to jump around in your Inbox in no particular order. Start processing your first email and only move to the second one after you’ve dealt with the first. Don’t procrastinate on emails and your efficiency in dealing with them will improve.
Strategy 3 - Organise your email inbox with labels, folders and/or categories.
Your email folders should mirror your paper working files. An effective filing system will make it easier to locate emails efficiently when you need them.
Strategy 4 - Turn off sound and message notifications
Set aside blocks of time in your calendar, a few times a day to respond to your emails. This minimises the distraction of incoming emails as well as giving you a systematic approach to reading emails.
Strategy 5 - Make sure your email clearly reflects its content
Clearly identify the content of the email by using a succinct subject line that clearly explains the content that will follow. This will allow greater efficiency in locating emails in the future.
Strategy 6 - Send messages or replies only to recipients who need the information
Understanding the correct distinction between the “To:” field and the “Cc:” field can significantly reduce time when dealing with emails. The “Cc:” field is only for those who are being copied so they are kept in the loop. If you are “Cc’d”, remember that the email is for your information only and you are not required to respond.
Strategy 7 - Reduce the number of emails being received
Unsubscribe from any mailing lists that aren’t appropriate. Unnecessary email groups should also be avoided and use a filter to prevent unsolicited emails. Encourage team members to use Cc sparingly to avoid noise and distraction unless you are necessary to be across it. If a conversation is required, leveraging a phone call, face to face or chat message may be a more efficient mechanism to efficiently deal with the issue, so opt for those channels rather than email where required.
By developing efficient ways to process your emails you will be able to gain greater control of them, improve your response time and keep up with important actions and due dates.
Collagis is committed to helping businesses like yours to optimise workforce and organisational effectiveness. We'd love to share with you how we can help you to boost productivity.
The Personal Efficiency Program (PEP) helps individuals and teams to improve personal productivity and gain back on average 2 hours per person per day for meaningful work. Ask us for more information about how this could help your organisation to thrive.
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