How many times do you check your email? 10 times? 23? 51? Let’s be honest, most of us spend far too much energy and effort checking emails, lending even less of our time to getting actual work done. Because I have so many things to do each day, I started thinking about how I can optimize my time and get rid of anything that sucks it away from me. The biggest culprit: checking emails. Here’s how to liberate yourself from your email fix and get more done:
1. Decide on a number
Think about how many times you actually need to check your email. Does your job depend on timely responses or are most emails about long term projects and updates? I try to check my email around 5-6 times a day, immediately archiving junk mail and starring emails that need more time and thought.
2. Respond in 5 or less
Once you’ve paired down your emails, the goal is to get through them as quickly and efficiently as possible with action items. What does this mean? It means opening an email, and responding as often as you can. Here’s the key: respond in 5 sentences or less with an action item. No one needs your novel length explanations for something (unless you’re sending a report via email or something similar), and no one has time to read those. Make your email as clear and as action oriented as possible.
3. Organize your inbox
Do you get so many emails in your inbox that you don’t know where to start? Use the settings functions in your email preferences to set up several inboxes. Based on your email provider (I use Gmail), you can choose to have all spam type emails be sent to separate inbox, teach your email what emails you care most about, and label which ones need special attention. Then, spend your email checking time responding to these priority inbox ones.
Voila! You’ve successfully reduced your inbox time by a ton of time. What are your other tips?