Summer has arrived!
Longer days and lighter clothing, barbeques, outdoor music and dancing, special time with family and fireworks are the order of the day. Like many, you have good intentions to do this summer differently, making time for what really matters to you – right?
Each day you start out full steam ahead, promising that you will leave work on time with energy left over for the evening. For many of you even with the best of intentions you rarely meet this desire, so much is tugging at you to complete each day.
One area that is consistently an energy drain is email, the neverending in-box, which seems to fill up as quickly as it gets emptied, if it ever gets emptied.
I feel this one every day and decided it was time to tame the dragon. Improving your email habits can drastically increase your productivity.
Like any new approach, these take focus and practice.
But after awhile, they will become habits that support you.
- Check email only at scheduled times for a specified amount of time. Twice a day for 30-60 minutes works well for many. Unplug until the next scheduled time.
- Unsubscribe relentlessly. Make sure you receive only the things you really want to—and do—read. If you have trepidation about letting something go, write down the company name in a file, for easy access later. If you really miss it re-subscribe.
- Reduce the amount of routed email (i.e., cc’d from coworkers) to only that which is essential.
- “Slash and burn” on your first pass through your inbox, this makes a big difference. Use the second pass for replies and other follow-up actions.
- Empty your inbox every day and keep it that way. Delete most and file the rest.
- Include all of your contact information in your signature—phone, fax, website—so that others don’t have to hunt for this information.
- One topic, one subject. Change the subject line when conversation turns to another topic, and break up multiple topics into separate emails for easy filing and recall.
- Count to ten before clicking “Send.” Make sure your email is clear and represents what you really want to say to avoid a lot of back-and-forth later.
- Include in your replies the original context of the email so you (and others) don’t have to hunt for it later.
- Resist the temptation to check your email more than your scheduled times! It’s a simple step but has a profound effect on productivity.
Look back over this list to see what stands out to you. Set yourself up for success by choosing 1-2 areas to focus to begin with. Once you have mastered those choose 1-2 more.
Congratulations, you are on your way to taming the email dragon and having more time to live the life that truly matters.
I would love to hear what resonated with you from this article, let’s begin a dialogue. Email me at email@example.com
Love and Blessings,