Written by Hutson & Houck
In today’s world, email is essential for staying connected, but not everyone is aware what a time suck email can be. How many times a day do you check your email and get lost among the messages? Change your email habits to help you raise your productivity.
1. Read an email once.
Scanning an email and deciding to return to it later is a common habit. Think of it like keeping a drawer open, every-time you graze an email with the intent to go back, you are leaving all these drawers open in your mind! Opening up more stress and anxiety. However, reading an email once and responding right away will increase your productivity.
- Many experts refer to The “OHIO” acronym for useful inbox management: Only Hold It Once.
2. Take advantage of automatic filtering and folder systems.
Emails you receive on a consistent basis can be automatically filtered into their own folder. Think of this as a mini personal assistant! Your time is the most important, be harsh and choose what really needs to take up your time.
3. Schedule specific email times.
Just because you can have access to email 24/7 doesn’t mean you should check it all the time! Schedule specific email time and set up boundaries on response time. It’s ok to let an email be left unanswered for a few hours! Remember when we didn’t have email on our phones! The world did not end, so it won’t end now.
- Checking email before work, after work, and during a specific hour at work will limit wasted time. In addition, setting a time limit for your email checks will help you stay focused and on task.
4. Keep your mail closed.
Email is a frequent source of distractions. Keep the tab closed when you’re not working on your email. This will increase your productivity and reduce your urge to get sidetracked. You can take a step further and turn off notifications for emails on your phone. That was you have to make a conscious decision to open an email.
5. Separate work and personal emails.
Combining work with personal messages can seem like it’s saving steps, but really you’re just creating more confusion. Separate emails and inboxes are essential for staying in control.
- Messages about client meetings shouldn’t be mixed up with emails about your child’s piano lessons. Sorting emails wastes your time. Cut out the middleman, and keep them separated from the beginning.
6. Be concise.
Keep your emails threads concise and to the point. Provide just the right amount of information. This reduces follow-up questions and helps to avoid confusion. It also helps your inbox stays smaller.
- Define, explain, and help in as few words as possible.
- Keep conversations in one email thread. Starting a new thread every time creates confusion and aides in details getting lost of slipping through the cracks. Don’t force the recipient to go back through their inbox to try and figure out what you talked about previously.
7. Clean out your inbox.
Emails accumulate quickly Regular clean up is essential. Try and eliminate spam or just stop giving out your personal email all together!
- Only keep the emails you need. This cuts down on the time you spend looking through your inbox, and increases your productivity.
- Don’t ignore your folders. Automatic filtering your emails can lead to a large groups accumulating in your folders. Don’t ignore them. Staying on top of your emails is equally as important as keeping them organized.
8. Use standard responses.
A standard response to an email reduces the time you spend writing and thinking about the message. Create a group of general responses to common questions you receive on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis.
Having a standard response helps cut out precious brain power ! Not only does it help with time management, but it cuts down the chances of mistakes or accidently leaving information out.
9. Don’t watch that video, yet.
Set aside your emails with attachments like videos, memes or articles that require more attention and can be a time suck
- Unless they’re important, it’s better to watch videos etc at the end of the day. These take up more of your time, and has put you in a space to just sit there and watch stuff. How many times have you gone to watch one video, and then it’s been 4 days and you’ve binge watched 6 seasons of the office! Don’t open that tab! Focusing on answering actual messages during the work day is the key to staying productive.
10. Change your email signature.
Your email signature should have all of the most important contact information. It needs to be concise and easy to understand. Avoid distracting fonts and multiple colors.Avoid trying to showcase your personality here! The goal is to reduce follow-up emails and questions,particularly in regards to contacting you.
Email habits can be changed to boost productivity. The inbox is a powerful way to stay connected and focused on work if you manage it effectively.