Overwhelmed by email? Experiencing email overload? Who isn’t? Basex Research recently estimated that businesses lose $650 billion annually in productivity due to unnecessary e-mail interruptions. According to Ross Mayfield of Forbes.com, the average number of corporate e-mails sent and received per person per day is expected to reach over 228 by 2010. Defining your email style with systems and routines makes all the difference.
- A good spam filter is a must. Anti spam technology is available at a reasonable cost so be sure you are all set. Remember to review the “spam” email just in case the filter has removed mail that you need. You can redirect this into the inbox with minor adjustment. Do not open emails, reply back or “unsubscribe” to junk email as this could place you on more spam email lists. It is best to delete all of these at the beginning of y our email session. Be sure your virus protection is up to date as well.
- Eliminate as many email lists as you can. This is just like stopping subscriptions to magazines you don’t have time to read! Be sure you are subscribing ONLY to necessary information, not the “just in case” information. If you are receiving jokes or chain messages from friends, kindly remind them you are not interested. If you must include email newsletters, move these into a “read” folder. Add an additional email address for just shopping and coupons. This way they are separate and not clogging your inbox.
- Decide the function of your email inbox. An inbox is not for filing, it is for active use. If your inbox is cluttered, it is often because of indecision. Because email floods in like a tsunami, be decisive on your email processing. Being committed to using your inbox as a temporary home for action items, it is easier to work with the clutter there.
- Create a subfolder named “Processed” or “Done” to eliminate delaying email filing. Often “filing” your email is put off because it is more complicated than your needs. When you need information in this subfolder, it can be sorted by arranging the subject line or sender to find it.
- Limit the times you check your email. Schedule two or three consistent time periods each day to go through your email inbox. Turn off your audio alarm so that incoming email is not a distraction. Plan to spend an hour at that time answering your email and truly focusing on this task. The first hour of work can be most productive by focusing on a major project and by checking your email the second hour. You will find increased productivity and a sense of accomplishment by conquering a task first thing in the day?
- Email is best used for short messages with direct subject lines. Need to explain a lengthy topic? Using the phone can make a difference.
- Organize your email with tech tools. With unroll.me, your subscriptions are organized into a list for you to read but not interfere with your work. Using Mailstrom you can group related mail and act on it as a group. If you use gmail, there’s Boomerang to help you respond to email. Check out one of these tech tools to get through your email overload.
What are your secrets to email success?
Sometime during 2009, I decided to start clearing out my inbox (both work and personal) and dealing with every single email each time I checked it. Everything I open, I either immediately delete, put into a folder, or respond to right away. I usually end up doing this about twice a day. There is never more than 2-3 emails in my inbox at a time and it makes dealing with email so much easier! 🙂
Great job Laura! You have a great routine going!