The electronic age was meant to speed up the way we work and computers promised to make life easier. They have, however, brought with them their own challenges as witnessed by the common frustrations of managing email. If email is soaking up too much of your day, try these tips:
- Turn off the email alert on your computer. You know emails arrive constantly. You don’t need your computer to remind you there is more work sitting in your Inbox.
- Schedule a routine time to clear new email messages. Do not schedule this first thing in the morning otherwise it may soak up the rest of your day.
- Read, respond then delete or file. Keeping loads of email messages in your Inbox is the same as leaving mail sitting on the middle of your desk. Both practices give you the impression you have yet to deal with the messages when in fact, you have responded.
- Use your email functionality – rules and alerts – to sort your mail when it arrives. If you have a big project on the go, create a folder for the project. Add the folder to your favourite folders where you can see it easily in the top left (or right) of your screen. Create a rule to have all new mail with the project name in the heading or body go directly to this folder. Your computer will tell you when there is new mail in the folder, don’t worry. It’s like having an assistant sort your mail before putting it in your inbox.
- Limit your time for email clearing. If you need two or three scheduled times to clear – so be it but limit the time of each session.
- Be short and succinct in your communication. No one else wants to receive long winded emails at their end since they have limited time to review it as well.
Enjoy shaking off the email shackles.