Is your email taking over? Tips to reduce your email load
Your email is the best way to keep in touch with your customers, employees, and vendors. Practically everyone has an email account and it is likely to be where you will spend a great portion of your time. While email is valuable to your job, you shouldn't let it consume everything. It is still important for you to find time to do the rest of your job. Many top executives report that their email inbox receives about 600 email messages per day. This is often due to the fact that they are cc'd on a lot of emails and their employees hit the "reply to all" button more than they should. To help you reduce your email workload, here are a few basic tips to try out.
Tip # 1 - Delete emails
Once you read an email, reply to it and move it to your folder. Don't let the email stay in your inbox because it will make it seem like you have more emails to go through. Quite often emails will sit in the inbox and nothing is done about them for a good month or longer. You will see the email and make a mental note about what you need to do and quite often this leads to a relaxed "I should do this, but" often follows and it continues to sit in your inbox. Place the task on your desktop calendar so it can remind you that way instead of in your inbox. Clean out your emails at least once a week. Hanging onto old emails forever is completely pointless unless you need them to prove your word against an employee. Cleaning out your email allows you to have more time to focus on your daily tasks and you will not worry about responding to pointless messages.
Tip # 2 - Have a personal assistant scan your emails
If your emails are just getting out of control, one of the best things you can do is to hire a personal assistant to filter them each day. They can set up files for junk mail, spam, personal email, emails from colleges, employee email, and customer email. This way you will have several different folders and you can choose which one seems to be the most pressing to you. Get to those emails first and then worry about your personal emails later.
Tip # 3 - Unsubscribe
One of the best ways to cut down on your emails is to unsubscribe from all those newsletters and other things that will quickly flood your account. Do you really need a new marketing tip delivered to your email each day? How about the messages for promotional materials because you ordered with a company one time? At the bottom of the email there should be a place where you can unsubscribe so you don't have to worry about filtering those messages again.
Tip # 4 - Time limits
A great way to reduce the amount of time you spend on email is to set time limits on it. Do not allow yourself to spend the first 2 hours behind your desk reading your emails. Instead set a timer and only read emails for 45 minutes. Take a break and work on other pressing projects and get back to your emails later in the day. You can also do yourself a favor by changing the send/receive frequency to be 2-3 times a day instead of every hour. The only downside to this is that it may delay some of your responses to employees.
Tip # 5 - Forward the message
To help cut down on the amount of emails you are trying to reply to, forward some of the smaller ones onto your employees. You have staff members that can easily answer basic questions about the company so don't waste your time replying to those messages, let your employees use their skills to reply to them.