The stronger you are at managing your time and focusing on the things that might save you time, the more you will achieve.
And this does not just mean better results in a business sense but also in terms of life outside of work.
A growing proportion of our time now revolves around sending, responding to and deleting emails. How many times you have heard a colleague or friend complain or even brag about the mountain of emails they have accumulated just because they were out of the office for a certain period?
Quite a few I’m sure.
So, for the purpose of this article, let’s focus on five simple email tips to help people sharpen up their time management skills and spend less time sifting through a raft of potentially avoidable emails.
Tip 1 – Decide if an email is the best form of communication
Too often an email is sent without enough thought. Email is a great tool, but it can often be overused and misused. Communication is not about merely sending an email; it is about ensuring that a specific message is received and understood. Just because an email has been sent does not mean a communication has occurred.
Take a moment to think if email is the right method of communication for a particular proposal, question or response. Consider picking up the phone or walking over to someone in the office to have a conversation. This could well save you time in the long run and result in a better outcome.
Tip 2 – Use email rules to filter certain emails into other folders
When I first ran a large marketing team, I created a rule that all emails where I was cc’d went into a separate folder. I was finding that those emails were not really for me, just people advocating responsibility. That one simple rule saved me a lot of time because I rarely looked at those emails, because I didn’t need to. Set up other similar rules to help separate the important emails from the chaff.
Tip 3 – Keep your emails short
And keep them clear. Otherwise you will prolong the email trail because people have not understood it. If it is too long, go back to tip 1. Others should then follow suit.
Tip 4 – Deal with it
It is easy to have a quick read of an email and then think you’ll deal with it later. You might forget, for one, but if you do that a lot, you are wasting time. Just deal with it there and then, bearing in mind previous tips.
Tip 5 – Use attachments wisely
Firstly, don’t fall into the trap of forgetting the attachment, as you’ll have a barrage of flippant remarks in your inbox. Secondly, give a concise summary of your attachment and what people should do with it. Remember, communication is not just sending a message.
Hopefully one or two of these tips may work for you, save you time and help free up more space in your diary to see more clients and write more business.
If others also follow your lead your inbox will only end up containing emails that are brief, to the point and information you actually need.
Now that would make all our lives easier, wouldn’t it?