So, what’s the best solution for working on all of these emails? It starts with 4 major steps. Whether your goal is getting to Inbox Zero, implementing an organized folder structure, or only responding to the emails that require immediate attention, creating a plan of action is the best way to fight the post-holiday weekend blues.
Step 1: Touch each email once
Don’t come back to it later, do something with it NOW. Otherwise, you are guilty of procrastination and that only eats away at your day and drags out the time that you will need to reply to the message. Then, after you have read, forwarded or replied to the message, either delete the message or file it away if you really think you will need it again.
Email statistics show that mail over 6 months old are rarely viewed again. And, mail over 1 year old will sit in a folder forever without being read.
One of my clients has a mail rule that only allows mail to sit in the Inbox, Sent Mail folder, or Deleted Items folder for 30 days. Then it’s automatically deleted. If you need to save it, then move it to the necessary folder as soon after you have read it. Imagine having an Inbox with only current messages.
If you use your email inbox as a repository for every message you have received (and the item count is over 1,000), you are probably not living up to your productivity potential. Most email programs offer Filters (or Inbox Rules) to allow your inbound messages to automatically be transferred to a pre-assigned mail folder.
For example, I receive email from the local Chamber of Commerce. I receive an average of 5 – 10 messages a week and created an Inbox Rule that takes all the inbound messages and automatically move them to the Chamber folder in my mailbox. I also use an Inbox filter for many of my other messages that I receive from the same source on a regular basis.
The inbox rules can sort your messages based on subject, sender, message type, and keywords.
Step 3: Pick the most productive email checking time of the day – AND stick with it
If you find yourself tackling emails with more energy first thing in the morning, then block off time on your calendar and focus at the task at hand. It does not matter what time of the day you work on email, you just have to budget the time and block it off on your calendar.
Did you know that it takes 21 consecutive days of doing a specific task to create a habit. Yes, replying to email can be habit forming and you really want to do this every day at a specific time. So, block off time on your calendar and don’t do anything else during this time. If the phone rings, simply let the caller know that you are in the middle of a project and that you will call them back when you are finished with your project.
Step 4: Send concise, relevant, and polite emails to others (using proper etiquette).
When replying to your email, remember that bold upper case letters can be considered as screaming or yelling at the recipient. But, this would apply if your entire message was in bold upper case letters. A single word can be used to GET your point across. Being polite in messages is important. You don’t want to criticize or attack a person in an email message.
Remember to be concise with your message and don’t ramble on. Most people will read the first 2 paragraphs of a long message to determine if they want to continue reading it. Use 1 subject per email, to allow your message to be concise and relevant. Remember not to write a book. Short messages are better.
Elite Networking & Consulting can help you with managing your Email, by educating you on how to create mailbox filters or rules to help you take control of your electronic communication issues. This is the benefit of working with an IT Professional. If you would like additional information on how to manage your email, please contact us at 855-767-9685 or send an email to email@example.com.