Email can be an extremely effective communication tool, but only when you know how to control email overload. Email overload is not just inefficient, it’s also bad for your health. If we’re not careful, we can spend half our day sifting through our inbox.
Developing and implementing a strategy for handling your inbox is all about eliminating the outside factors preventing you from your peak performance. Below are tips for better managing your email overload:
- Check emails on a schedule. Get things done with Inbox Pause. Inbox Pause stops new email from coming into your Inbox until you’re ready for it. Studies show that checking email only a few times a day reduces stress and boosts productivity.
- The one-minute rule. Email takes so much time, and it’s easy to procrastinate. So, I instituted a one-minute rule: if a message requires only a sentence or even a single-word reply, I respond to it right away. Otherwise, I flag the email as something to take care of when I have more time.
- Cut out the junk. Instead of continually trashing repeated mails from the same company that you never look at, unsubscribe from them.
- Use filters. Message filters apply actions on messages based on conditions that you have defined. You can define filters for both incoming and outgoing emails.
- Get your news from an RSS reader. An RSS Reader is an effective and efficient way to stay up to date on all new content delivered to sites you follow. By subscribing to a site’s RSS Feed and using an RSS Reader, you can review new content at your leisure and on your schedule.
- Automate your email follow-up. “Automate your follow up by setting up and using the ‘waiting for’ rule,” says Carson Tate, Author of Work Simply: Embracing the Power of Your Personal Productivity Style and founder of Working Simply.
“Here’s how it works: When you send an email where you need a response from the recipient, cc yourself on that email. That email will then be automatically saved in a folder you have designated for all of your follow-ups.”
- Set boundaries for work emails. Part of freeing yourself from your inbox is setting up boundaries of when you can be checking email or not.
- Sync devices. Don’t waste time switching between apps and accounts. Keep your devices in complete sync. This means you can have the same email accounts on several computers and sync your emails across all of them automatically. Access all your email messages, calendars, and contacts via your computer, smartphone, or tablet: no matter if you are at your workplace or away in a meeting.
- Use collaboration tools. Collaboration tools save time spent sending and reading emails and increase productivity. Unlike the email approach, where all data is treated uniformly and jammed inside the inbox, online collaboration tools appreciate that different information needs within an organisation need different treatment – task management, document management, schedule coordination, and many others. When each type of information is handled optimally, a net positive effect flows from it in terms of employee productivity and business efficiency.
If you are a business owner, your top job should be one thing and one thing alone: growing your business. A few minutes here and there adds up. Running a successful business means every minute counts. It takes time to sort through emails, deciding what to read and what to ignore. Valuable time is wasted on spam emails. A virtual assistant can alleviate email overload and management, help with scheduling, and help you to achieve inbox zero. Contact us today to discuss your business needs.