Your email has a lot to do with your daily work routine and other business processes. It’s where you get notified of meeting invites and reminders. It’s also a top tool for communicating with teammates, employees, partners, and clients.
It’s not at all surprising that your email is the first thing you check when you log in at work. But have you ever tracked how much time you spend reading emails, both for work and promotional ones?
You see, even if it’s a vital part of how you operate either as an employee, a manager or a business owner, email tends to hog your time. A mismanaged email can lead to inefficient communication. This, in return, leads to wasted time in general, as discussed in this video:
But of course, we can never totally ignore our inbox. So, here are some ways you can use your email fruitfully and prevent it from taking too much of your time.
Keep Notifications Off
There’s no telling when you will get an email. It can be in the morning or in the middle of the night. If you have desktop notifications turned on, you will constantly get that pop-up dialog at the bottom right of your screen. If your email is linked to your phone, you will also get mobile notifications.
Sure, you can ignore them, but that isn’t always the case. You can blame it on muscle memory why you’d often click or tap on the notification dialog even if you don’t mean to. And once you’ve opened that email, you’ll never know where it’ll lead you (you click on one link and then it’s a rabbit hole, I tell you).
With notifications off, you can focus on your task at hand without interruption from your email.
Set a Time in the Day to Check Your Email—And Stick to It!
Checking your email regularly is necessary so you won't miss any important appointment, communication, and other what-not. However, checking it constantly and at no specific time in the day may only distract you away from your more important tasks.
It's best to set a time during your workday for checking, reading, and answering emails. You can do it first thing in the morning to see if you have any reminders and to help you plan your day. Then, check it again mid-day to see if there are updates from your team, staff or clients. Finally, visit your inbox before you call it a day.
By the way, make sure you limit the time you spend checking your inbox and managing your messages. If you’re a serial email bystander, it will help to set a timer once you open your email. Limit it to a maximum of two hours per day, so around 15 to 20 minutes in one go.
Image Credit: VectorStock.com
Keep Your Messages and Responses Concise
Business emails are supposed to be straight to the point, so there’s no need to write a full prose. You don’t want to bore your recipient and you don’t want to waste both your time and their time.
Think what message you want your recipient to get. Then, build and state your points clearly yet respectfully. For an average email, try to limit the body in a max of five sentences. If you really need to compose a lengthy explanation, make sure to come up with simple sentences and use basic but professionally-acceptable words.
Set Up Auto-Response
If you’ll be gone for a vacation or you think you’ll be busy the entire day, activate auto-response. This way, those who will send you a message will not feel ignored. Set a time when you’re free to check the emails yourself and respond to them. Make sure you stick to the time you tell them, though!
The email is a very helpful and important tool. Don’t let it ruin your productivity just because of simple time mismanagement.
Do you have other email productivity tips? We’d love to hear about it!
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