Have a look in your email inbox- how many messages have you got in there? Several hundred? A few thousand? Believe it or not, you will find those who have accumulated a large number of emails within their inbox. If this is you, it’s probably a good time to take a look at how you are processing the incoming emails, and see if you can increase the time used on reading and responding to email actions.
Here are four steps you can start taking today, that can make a massive difference in the amount of time you spend on email related tasks. Effective email time management starts right now!
Schedule Email Time – How frequently a day have you been interrupted through the “ding” that notifies you when an e-mail is here inside your inbox? Also think about the number of total interruptions you get on a daily basis- from the telephone, people stopping at your desk or office, instant messaging, etc. Scheduling an hour or so daily to work from the information received in your inbox (moving files to your reference folders, or undertaking the actions required of action emails) can make a massive difference in the sum you accomplish. Depending on the nature of your work, you may need to examine your email more frequently for additional pressing emails requiring actions straight away, but having a minumum of one hour daily, specifically scheduled to cope with what’s within the schedule email and to not allow phone calls or some other interruptions, is likely to make a huge difference.
If possible, don’t leave your email program running throughout the day while you’re working on something different. Every time you find out what email is arriving in, you lose give attention to what you’re concentrating on plus it takes time to obtain it back. If you must check it frequently for urgent messages, just open it when you find yourself in between projects, or waiting for something on top of that up, etc.
All email can be classified as either “reference” or “action” email. Statistics show us that learning how to do this will save you approximately 50 minutes each day on filing and finding information. That’s almost 7 hours a week, and worth the time it will take you to learn this procedure!
Reference Email: This is material that you receive in your email that you do not have to do a particular task with; but you need to keep it so you can make reference to it at a later time. You need to store these in email folders, within the My Documents area of your computer, or in paper form within file cabinets.
Action Email: This is data that you employ to actually complete an action. You require what is incorporated in the email to carry out the action. These details is usually saved on a to-do list, a calendar, or in a project management system.
It can be very difficult to face up to the temptation to open emails in a random order- based on what looks most interesting to you personally as you open your inbox up! Systematically working through the emails one at a time, beginning with the best, is a far greater approach and can increase productivity and reduce time used on email related tasks. Make use of email program to arrange emails by date, so the oldest or latest emails are on top of this list.
If you’ve got a backlog of emails inside your inbox to function through, you should schedule blocks of time to have through them- organizing reference information and responding to actions. Eventually, it will be possible to clear from the inbox from the older information and simply work with a daily list of emails, one at a time.
Are you currently constantly opening and reading the identical email messages over and over- and marking them “as new” again to refer to later simply because you just aren’t sure how to handle it currently? The reference/action classification can help you with that; as will the 4 D’s of Making Decisions model.
Handling email once is more efficient, and definately will improve your productivity. Making a decision the first time you open your email is paramount to effective time management. You have four choices to select from applying this model of tqbegw making, including:
If you currently have a backlog of emails, just set aside larger chunks of time to begin getting through the old messages. Start on a daily basis with the hour of email time, working through your newest received emails, then schedule additional time to go through the old emails. Before you know it, you may be working with daily messages only- and enjoying your newfound email productivity!