E-mail has become a vital part of today's world. Gone are the days where e-mail was branded as a “professional thing.” Right from scheduling a playdate to keeping up with your child's school activity, e-mails are an integral part of everyone's life. The trouble with e-mail is it can quickly get filled up with unnecessary junk and sabotage your chances of being on top of important ones. Another thing about e-mails is checking them too often can take off a good chunk of hours in the day. So, if you are looking for ways to strike a balance and be on top of your e-mails, here are a few tips:
Do a complete detox occasionally
Every couple of weeks or months set time aside (which can even take half a day), to really go through your e-mails, delete them, archive them, or even putting them under a starred list. This will help you go through your mistakes if any, and help you be aware of the types of e-mails you get regularly. It will also make you more productive.
Schedule specific times for e-mails
You might be getting e-mails all through the day. And checking them every 15 minutes is going to add up to quite a bit of time away from the rest of your obligations. Allocate a specific time in the morning, afternoon, and evening - whatever works for you - to dive into what’s most urgent, and respond to everything necessary in chunks. This way you can check all your e-mails, at one go, and process them better. Also, it helps in not having to navigate from your existing tasks causing distraction.
Respond to e-mails instantly
During your allocated time, try to respond to e-mails instantly. Otherwise, it gets pushed deep into the inbox and eventually be forgotten about. The advantage of replying quickly, however short, helps you build trust with the person who sends the e-mail. It also increases efficiency. If you do not want to reply immediately and need some time, find a way to mark them. This way you can get to it as soon as possible.
Try to keep your e-mails short
Try to keep your e-mails between 1 to 3 sentences long, a maximum of 5. If you have anything longer to say, put your thoughts or ideas down in a document and share this as an attachment. This way the person can make changes there and you can review them later.
Filter Your e-mails
An organized inbox ensures that no important emails are missed, hence filter them ruthlessly. Whatever e-mail provider you are using, there are both incoming and outgoing filters. You can filter them based on name, actions, condition, and priority. If a promotional e-mail comes to your inbox and if it is not something you look forward to, unsubscribe from them immediately. This saves a lot of time in clearing out those e-mails later.
It is easy to sync everything from a laptop to a phone, and the reminders are unmissable. Learn shortcut keys to the inbox, reply, forward, or even archive, which quickly which helps you access your e-mails swiftly.
These small things can add to bigger productivity goals. Do you have any e-mail productivity tips you feel we’ve missed and you’d like to add?