When you added your work e-mail to your new iPhone, did a part of you feel like you were throwing away any chance at peace and quiet ever again? That little chirp coming in every few minutes stating that someone or something else requires your undivided attention is enough to make your eye twitch and your blood pressure spike. But in your industry, it’s a necessary evil. You have to be on top of things; but in order to have the most productive day, the most intense focus, the best work results, you have to practice expert time management skills and that includes managing how much time you spend with e-mail.
Evaluate the number of e-mail subscriptions
Do you really need to know every single discount Office Depot offers? If you’re subscribed to multiple vendors that you may have needed once but perhaps have fallen off your radar (for a good reason), it’s time to Unsubscribe. And instead of going through each email to do that, use https://unroll.me. It’s your one-stop shop for unsubscribing.
Create expectations with your boss, your team, and your clients
With the inventions of mobile devices, being immediately available is now not only the expectation, but the standard. That’s not always a good thing. Stopping in the middle of a task to check an email takes your brain off track and requires more time for the task than originally necessary. So, it’s important to set e-mail expectations that work for you. If you feel that responding to all e-mails within the hour is sufficient, then make that the policy. Whatever time limit you set, stick to it. If there’s an emergency that requires you respond in 5 minutes, e-mail is not the most effective channel and that should be communicated.
Organize with color coding, flagging, and tabs
Most e-mail services have a way of helping you sort your emails to determine the importance and urgency. Mac uses flags and color codes. Gmail uses tabs. Whatever works for you, use it. You can’t take care of all 300 today, but all e-mails are not created equal, and that’s ok.