Ignore your inbox when you wake up

Responding to emails as soon as you receive a notification gives others the impression that you’re at their beck and call. It also prevents you from reflecting on your own priorities for the day.

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Communication

  • Do. If the email is actionable and takes under two minutes, then do the task ASAP.
  • Delegate. Forward the right tasks to the right people.
  • Defer. Reply to the message at a better time.
  • Delete emails that are not important or that you can delegate. 
  • File. Add messages that contain information you will need to your archives.

To avoid filling the email box of staff members, only CC the relevant parties. Ask your team to respond to you individually instead of using the reply-to-all button.

Batchers, who set aside specific chunks of time to work through their email, are significantly more effective when it comes to getting things done. Research shows that they’re less stressed as well.

Have someone screen your messages. They can separate the important messages from the less important. You can hire a virtual assistant to handle this job.

Another option would be to use tools to sort and declutter your inbox so that only important emails come through. 

Create a new operating model for your organization’s emails. This should include:

  • Knowing when to email vs. communicating in other ways. 
  • Embracing other platforms for collaborating and communicating. Use internal messaging services to connect with your team quickly.
  • Ban “reply all.” 
  • Share email productivity tips that you have found successful. 
  • Have a clear and specific subject line to let the recipient know what the email is about without opening it.
  • Always be a professional. Never write with emotion or overuse exclamation marks.
  • Proofread. Ensure that the message is brief and makes sense to avoid any misunderstandings.
  • Include a call-to-action. With a clear direction, they won't have to respond with a series of follow-up questions.
  • Add a signature with your contact information.

Only respond to yesterday’s emails -- unless they’re urgent. 

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... to read and respond to email. Don’t leave your email program open all day long. Alerts from incoming messages can interrupt your work flow. Instead, schedule specific blocks of time throughout the day for checking your email. 

You might even try marking your calendar and setting your availability to “busy.” If necessary, turn off your cellphone and shut your office door to prevent interruptions.

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IDEAS

Tips To Reduce Frequent Email Checks
  • Check it at 11am and 4pm to make sure it isn’t the first thing you do (and get sucked into) and also so you have a clear inbox by the end of your day.
  • If your to-do list is already overflowing, add email checking times to your calendar.
  • Close your email software.
  • Don’t use an email browser client, because it will be too tempting.
  • Use a desktop app with no easily accessible shortcut.
  • Hide your email app on the last page of a folder full of apps you never go to.
  • What’s the main point of your email? 
  • What action do you want the recipient to take? 
  • What critical facts do you need to get across in your email?

Give yourself a limit to the length of your response and stick to it. 

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