Avoid the Email Trap—Tips for Email Productivity
The Trap of Email Productivity
The average American worker spends over 30 hours each week checking their email. While email is a modern communication miracle, it can also be a waste of time. Luckily there are a few simple ways to make the time spent in your inbox as productive as possible. Here are a few helpful tips to increase your email productivity.
How to Increase Email Productivity
End the Subscription Addiction
An email subscription is a small price to pay to be in the loop of some of your favorite products, businesses, or industry professionals. However, this can quickly get out of hand. If the list you are subscribed to brings you little real value, delete it immediately.
If that seems like a daunting task, there are programs that can easily automate the process for you. Free programs like Unroll.me scan your inbox for subscriptions, and then provide a simple list of all of your subscriptions. You can then automatically unsubscribe from any that bring you little value with a mouse click.
Sort it out!
Sorting emails isn’t really anyone’s idea of fun, and luckily it doesn’t have to be. The most used email services offer email productivity features such as filters which can help you presort your incoming mail, and some may be working without you knowing it. Your spam folder is a perfect example of this. Many email sites have existing filters in place to discard unwanted emails for you. You can use similar rules to create new folders as well.
For instance, you can create separate folders for your family email addresses, the addresses of current clients, or the addresses of your business team using different filters. The process varies slightly based on your email provider, but it is very simple. Once these filters are created, incoming messages will automatically be sorted into their folders, and other messages will remain in your inbox for review.
Opt Out of Notifications
With how connected we are in the 21st century thanks to computers, it can be easy to feel we have to stay connected at all hours of the day. As helpful as they may seem, constant notifications are eating away at your productivity – and your inbox. If you need to increase your productivity and balance your inbox, opt out of notifications from every channel, including email. Any urgent matters will warrant a telephone call and anything that doesn’t can wait until you take an email break.
The Email Break
There’s a time and place for everything, so why not make time for emails? Set aside 30 minutes each day to focus on emails. The best time for this is after you have eaten, allowing your body to focus on digestion. Take a second and figure out how much action you’ll likely spend on these emails and prioritize accordingly.
- High priority – These emails need a response from you right now. For instance, information to keep a project moving smoothly, emails from an important lead, emails from a department head.
- Medium priority – These emails can wait until the end of the day to be answered without affecting productivity.
- Low priority – Emails which require no action from you, or those that should be considered for the ‘unsubscribe’ pile.
At the end of the workday, take an additional 30 minutes to answer the medium priority emails, and begin chipping away at your unsubscribe list. It is a very simple method, and this alone can free up over 25 hours in the average work week.
Embracing Your Productivity
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