Thirty minutes? One hour? How long do you spend checking emails every day? It’s probably longer than you think. According to Entrepreneur magazine, the average person gets 121 emails per day.
That’s a lot of emails!
Email has changed the way the world communicates and has dramatically increased productivity and efficiency in many ways. But, if you don’t know how to effectively manage your emails, succumb to the constant ‘pinging’ from your phone, or are addicted to checking your emails, it may become a counter-productive tool.
Here are my top 10 tips to improve your email management:
- Check Emails Once or Twice a Day
As tempting as it can be to check your email every time you hear a buzz, it’s not productive. Instead, check your email only once or twice a day and set a time limit in the diary to do it.
2. Prioritise Emails
Not all emails are the same. Respond to urgent emails first. Ask yourself each time you open an email, is this actionable? If it’s something you can deal with within two minutes, do so. If not, file it to come back to at a pre-allotted time. You can also respond to emails in one batch according to their ‘type’, i.e. finance, marketing or team.
3. Think about the content
Use the subject line to be clear about the reason for your email and if any action is required by a given deadline.
Writing long emails is not only wasting your own time but also the time of the person reading them. Avoid filler words like “I think”, “honestly”, “absolutely”, “literally”. Use bullet points to make your email more concise and direct.
Only copy in people who need to be informed and refrain from pressing ‘reply to all’ if it’s not necessary.
4. Use Filters/Rules/Flags
An inbox filter is just a rule that you impose on the emails in your inbox. You can set up rules to filter out personal from business emails, as well as by sender and subject. You can also use different coloured flags to help organise important emails or show when an email has been actioned.
5. Create Folders
If you want to avoid spending hours searching through dozens of emails, don’t store all the incoming emails in the same folder. You can colour code folders and create folders in your inbox for example:
- Action required: For emails that require you to complete a task or follow up
- Awaiting response: For emails that you are expecting important responses to
- Archived: For emails you want out of your inbox without deleting them entirely
6. Create Templates
Save yourself time by creating templates for your most frequently written emails. These could include introduction emails, testimonial requests and thank you emails. Remember to customise the email to the recipient. There’s nothing worse than receiving an impersonal email.
I recommend you use a separate email for subscriptions, such as a free one, to save time when checking your emails and avoid distractions of tempting half price offers!
8. Set an Out of Office
Who wants to go on holiday and come back to hundreds of emails? I didn’t think so. Set up a simple and clear message with a point of contact or mobile number for urgent matters. Set your out of office for one day before you go and two after your return. This gives you time to catch up and look efficient on your return!
9. Create an Email Signature
10. Spell Check and Grammar
Creating an error-free email is crucial to look professional and make a great first impression. Grammarly is another free tool which checks both spelling and grammar. The upgraded version can even detect the tone your email is written in. It can be used across email, Office packages as well as social media platforms.
If you don’t have the time to tackle your inbox, give me a call as it’s a service I offer a lot of my clients. Whether it’s a one-off inbox detox or ongoing maintenance, get in touch.