Six Email Management Tips and Tools

Six Email Management Tips and Tools

1. Time outs.
An easy way to get overwhelmed when working on a project is to have distractions constantly thrown at you. If a piece of information is unrelated to your current focus, why not wait until you are done to even know about it. This concept, if practiced, will make you more productive. Set a time and make it known to your co-workers when you check your inbox… Maybe first thing in the morning and two specific times throughout the day. Whatever times you choose is fine, just stick with them and make it part of your routine.
Here’s a useful tool to help you get started:

2. Batch answers.
Do you ever get emails back-to-back from the same contact posing separate questions or ideas? Just as it is confusing for you to keep them organized together, it adds extra stress and confusion later to respond to each separately. Condense your responses for your own sanity. You have the power to break the cycle of multiple correspondences going back and forth. More often than not, the person you are talking with will catch on with this batching as well.

3. Be direct.
Proactive thinking comes with practice. Learn from your past conversation successes and failures. What specific things do you need answered to move forward on projects. If you are setting up a meeting time, make sure to think through all the elements (ex: day, time, location, duration) and solutions as soon as they are known. Strive to create closed ended questions (yes or no) instead of open ended questions. Being direct results in less back-and-forth correspondence… which means the more valuable time you save!

4. Clear your inbox.
… and keep it that way. The less clutter you have to navigate through, the better. In a perfect world, our inbox would only contain correspondences we still need to address or reply to. Strive to have everything else documented and archived. This can be a daunting task to get into the swing of because our inbox fills back up constantly. Make it a priority to pick one or two days a week and allot time to clear out your inbox. Maybe even make a game out of it.
Here’s a link to a fun way to empty your inbox:
Also consider, one of our favorites!

5. Use your voice.
Email is great, but we do not have to use it in every situation. The stress and time that typing and proofreading takes can sometimes be avoided with an old fashioned phone call to a client or walking over to a co-workers desk. If this option saves time and is more personable, it’s a win/win. Sometimes a phone call is preferred as email can result in unnecessary confusion and misunderstanding.

6. Set barriers.
Just because you live in an age where you can be contacted at any moment of the day, doesn’t mean you should be. Protect your time. This looks different for each person and situation. When you are with your loved ones or doing a hobby, make it a point to disconnect from your work. Most things can wait until later and if not, then people should have an emergency way of contacting you. Set boundaries with your co-workers that keep e-mail notifications from distracting you from your life outside of work.