Emails will be the death of us all one day.
If you have any involvement with email for your work, you’re probably overdoing it. Here is a short post with some quick tips on how to manage your emails better. These will increase your productivity tenfold, save you hours per week and cut down on a lot of heartache.
1. Check them no more than 3 x per day, once per day is best.
2. Turn them into tasks and/or save them into a personal folder and/or delete them. Don’t ever read them then leave them in your inbox. Keep your inbox empty.
3. Right click on the little envelope symbol that appears at the bottom right of the screen when you get a new email, and disable it. This way you won’t be distracted by it.
4. Use the Search function rather than trailing through long lists of emails hoping to spot the one you want.
5. Set up folders to keep emails in. Save all emails of any importance in their relevant folder. Makes it easier to find them and cuts down on search time.
6. Save any email that could be used as evidence or has vital information on it, in a personal file. On the other hand, feel free to delete unimportant emails. If you are paranoid, create a personal folder titled “Older” and put everything more than 6 months old into it on a twice yearly basis.
7. Ensure you are clear in your subject line what you want, use titles like:
- Action required
- FYI only
- Information request/response
- Not urgent
8. Don’t write epic stories for emails. Bullet point the key messages, and then state “for more information please call me”. See if you can get your emails down to no more than 3 short paragraphs. Any longer, you should call them. Emails are a great way to practice concise communication. If you can’t say it simply, you probably don’t really know what you are talking about.
9. Try calling prior to emailing. Calls are much more likely to result in action and are harder to avoid or delete.
10. Use “confirmation” emails to back up important phone calls as a form of evidence.
11. Enable your out of office assistant whenever you go out so that those people who are silly enough to send urgent messages by email know to call you. Even better, use Tim Ferriss’ trick of having an autoresponder on at all times, stating what times you check your emails and when someone can expect a response. Watch people start solving their own problems.
12. Keep the language professional. Avoid “thanks love”, “totally bro”, and “this is a load of crap”. Emails can come back to bite you. They can be used as evidence in Court.
Enjoy that post?