Thanks to the digital revolution that has taken place over the past decade or so, e-mail has become integrated with our lives – especially while at work. Sorting through, deleting and replying to e-mail can often times engulf much of our workday. While many e-mails which we receive are important, many simply waste our time and fill up our inbox. In order to become more productive and proficient while you are working, here are a few tips which can help reduce the amount of time you spend each day managing your e-mail.
Although most jobs will require relatively prompt replies to and handling of e-mail, it generally does not need to be instantaneous. Unless you absolutely need to handle e-mail the moment it comes in (such as an IT admin handling server issues), don’t constantly be checking your messages.
You can increase your productivity by setting aside specific time to handle your e-mail. This should differ for each person as each work situation is different. Many people block off an hour each morning to check and reply to e-mail. Others split it up into two or more times throughout the day. Set up a schedule that works for your job and stick with it. You’ll find the uninterrupted, allocated time will make concentrating on your replies and decisions much easier.
One mistake that many people make is that they store all of their messages in their inboxes. Treat your e-mail inbox just like your mail box at home. You don’t open mail and then put it back in the mail box, do you? No, you trash the junk mail and put the important letters where they need to go.
You’re inbox should be the same way – only for new, incoming messages. Create separate folders to organize your incoming e-mail into a system that works for you. Proficient users organize their mail so that old messages aren’t clogging up their inbox but are easy to access when needed. Perhaps you can even create a “Reply To” folder for messages you receive that need your response, but not immediately. This well help you triage your messages and handle the most important ones in a timely manner.
Owners and employees of small business often times find that sorting their e-mail is much simpler by using Gmail to access their messages. Many people do not know that you can use Gmail to store, sort and process nearly any e-mail account – even on your own domain.
Unless your company has an expensive or professional e-mail server dedicated to it, most e-mail options can’t match the benefits provided through Gmail. This e-mail management option is not only free, but also provides nearly unmatched sorting, categorizing and e-mail routing options.
Are you constantly noticing that many of your e-mails are regarding a specific problem or question? By identifying trends in what your customers, employees and other business associates are e-mailing you about, you can go to the source and prevent hours of time hunting through and replying to the same issues.
If you find your workers are constantly asking similar questions, including the answer into your company training or project instructions will save you countless headaches from repeating the same message dozens of times. Do customers contact you about the same issue? Perhaps updating your website to provide them with the answers they need is a wise way to trim unproductive time from your daily schedule.
Regardless of your job, you are bound to be receiving a plethora of e-mails all throughout the day. By having a solid plan in place to receive process and reply to your e-mail, you can easily make your day less stressful and more productive.
This is a guestpost by Lewis Edward, a co-owner of The Office Providers. He is a real estate investor and entrepreneur and his company provides any kind of office space incuding virtual offices.