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Email Killing Your Productivity? Here Are 9 Ways to Fight Back.

Delay your responses

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

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Email Killing Your Productivity? Here Are 9 Ways to Fight Back.

Email Killing Your Productivity? Here Are 9 Ways to Fight Back.

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/330197

entrepreneur.com

8

Key Ideas

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.

Empty your inbox daily

  • 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.

Stop CC’ing everyone

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.

Check your email in batches

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.

Leverage your staff

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. 

A new operating model for emails

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. 

Fine-tune your email etiquette

  • 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.

Delay your responses

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

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Email and productivity
Email is an extremely useful communication tool.  But when used inappropriately, email can hinder productivity.

More than one-quarter of a worker's day on average is spent answ...

Set aside time

... 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.

Take action immediately
  • browse the inbox for emails that can be immediately deleted (spam or promotional emails). Then select messages that don’t require a response and delete or archive them. 
  • Don’t let important emails sit in your inbox for days. Unless you’re on vacation, respond within 48 hours. Reply to the sender as soon as you’ve read his or her message.
  • If you’re unable to respond immediately, communicate to the sender that you received the message and will be in touch shortly. Set a deadline and follow up.

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Tips For Efficient Email Management
  • Unsubscribe from or filter away the stuff you never read.
  • Disable email push notifications on your phone.
  • Check emails twice ...
Quote the sender's email in chunks
  • Only use enough quotations to establish the context.
  • Your reply should come below it.
  • When possible, cut and reformat the quoted text.
  • Get tasks out of your email and into a task manager.
Determine What The Sender Needs From You Asap

Ask yourself:

  • What’s the meaning and the value of the message?
  • What action does this message require of me?

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Adopt GTD Methodology in Email

think of every email you get as either something you need to take action on, track, or refer to later. 

Every time you open a conversation, decide right away what to do with it. D...

Create an Email Productivity System

There’s no “definitive” system. The best framework is the one that works for you. Ideally, it should model your work style, supporting the way you work. Bonus points if it’s low-maintenance, fast to set up, and adaptable as your work changes.

Some people like to use folders with specific actions (do, delegate, reply), while others prefer the deadline-driven approach (today, tomorrow, next week).

Power Up Your Email with Plugins

Some examples:

  • Undo Send: for when you accidentally press the send button.
  • Canned Responses: create a template that you can reuse with canned responses.
  • Send and Archive: Automatically archive an email after replying to it using the send and archive button.

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Organize your emails

Create the following 2 folders:

  • Require Action besides simply responding.
  • Require Response. File emails here that you are unable to respond to immediat...
Unsubscribe

Unsubscribe from every list that doesn’t offer solid value for your business.

Turn off email notifications

Interrupting a task with notifications leads to a loss of concentration and a decline in productivity levels.

Feel free to set up an autoresponder re-directing all urgent matters to your phone.

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Organize your inbox

Even though email messaging has provided us with better communication, we have a hard time managing every message that enters our inbox.

Finding better ways to organize your inbox will benefi...

Marking Emails Unread

Trying to locate an email you want to respond to can be very time-consuming.

Mark the email you want to respond to later as "unread." It is easier to find between all your other messages.

Stick to a Routine

Getting out of the habit of checking email frequently can be tough. 

Check and respond to emails twice a day at a specific time. The rest of the day you can be dedicated to your work and not lose focus because of incoming messages.

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Learning to communicate effectively

Effective communication is an attainable and deliberately acquired skill set, one that can be learned and practiced over time.

While it’s true that individual attributes can make

Smoke out original though

To become a more effective communicator, you must 'smoke out' original thought. Rather than conforming to the status quo, make a conscious decision to abandon overdone and clichéd material/

Citing tired platitudes might win you a few "cool points" in social media circles, but they will only take you so far if you're truly striving to effectuate change. 

Prepare an impactful delivery

Once you’ve developed a fresh idea, work on organizing your message and polishing your delivery. Think about:

  • How  you will launch a stunning opening and closing line
  • How you will organize your material succinctly so that it is both moving and memorable (perhaps tweetable and repeatable)
  • Compelling details that should be included.
  • Your vocal and non-verbal communication (body language).

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4 Methods For Email Management On A Phone
  1. When you are walking or driving, use apps like Talkler to read your email to you and be able to reply with voice messages or delete emails.
  2. Trying to read email whil...
Checking Email
Check email only at set points during the day. 
  • you may decide that you'll only check your email before lunch, and at the end of the day.
  • you can also reserve time to re...
Checking your email regularly...

... during the day can be an effective way to keep your inbox at manageable levels.

However, the constant interruption and distraction that comes from it can dramatically lower your productivity, and disrupt your ability to enter a state of flow when working on high value projects.

Reading Email
  • Try using the "Two-Minute Rule" when you read your mail: if the email will take less than two minutes to read and reply to, then take care of it right now, even if it's not a high priority.
  • For emails that will take longer than two minutes to read or respond to, schedule time on your calendar, or add this as an action on your To-Do List , to do later. 

5 more ideas

Turn Off Notifications

Email tends to come in all the time and can create distractions and disruptions to your schedule. 

Turn off new message notifications on both your computer and sma...

How to Use Your Inbox

There are many different philosophies when it comes to managing your email inbox. 

You can use your inbox as a catchall, limit it to only high-priority messages, or make it a working task list. Choose one purpose for your inbox and stick with it.

Make lists of safe addresses

Create an email whitelist to ensure those messages get through, and a blacklist for what you consider spam addresses.

Update these lists frequently to keep your incoming email clean.

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Too much noise, too little attention
Too much noise, too little attention

Nobody wants to read anything you write at work. It's not personal though. We just happen to live in a world where there is so much information asking for our attention.

We can take a...

Write less often

Things that are rare and dwindling become more attractive and are perceived as more valuable. The less we write, the more valuable our writing becomes. 

Refrain from responding immediately. If another recipient should answer, give the person the right of first response. Ask yourself:

  • Do I need to send this now?
  • If not, do I need to send it at all?
  • If so, does more than one person really need it?
Fewer words

We long for clarity and for other people to say what they mean in as few words as possible.

Making wordy sentences that lose their fluency due to needless complexity in a text negatively affects the receiver of your message. In short: big is bad.

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