Just about all professionals have more email than they want, but how they manage it says a lot about their productivity. If your inbox is always overstuffed and you feel overwhelmed, you’re probably not getting everything done, writes Elizabeth Grace Saunders, founder of Real Life E Time Coaching & Training.
Here’s what Saunders says you should be doing instead.
• Prioritize emails that require a valuable response. Don’t waste time replying to messages that don’t require more than acknowledgment they were read or a simple “thanks.” If you’re struggling to complete your tasks for the day, everything you do should have value. Reply to the people who need real, substantial responses.
• Monitor how much time you spend in your inbox. Articles, videos, podcasts and surveys are time-wasters you can save for later. You need to productively check your email without falling off task. Setting an alarm is an effective way to curb your impulses. Make a folder for things to watch or read later because right now you’re answering email.
• Take advantage of stock replies. Text expanders should be on your radar if they aren’t already. Sites such as www.phraseexpress.com allow you to respond “Thanks! All the best, Rachel” or “I’ll check out the material you sent and touch base again soon. Thanks, Steve” with relative ease.
• Put answering tough emails on your to-do list. Most people can concentrate well for about 45 minutes before they need a short break. For emails that require a thoughtful response, make them a single task. Give each the full time it deserves.
— Adapted from “How Effective People Handle Email,” Elizabeth Grace Saunders, 99u.
Online resource: Get more tips and help with email productivity.