Mary got to the office early one morning determined to tackle her end of the month reports early. It was quiet because she was the only one there. Pleased with herself, she logged onto her computer and thought she’d check her inbox “for just a second.” After all, she had a whole hour to get a head start. In her email there were a couple of items she could respond to quickly, so she did. Oh, here was one that was urgent.
Before she knew it, an hour had passed and her coworkers were filing in and she still hadn’t started her reports.
How much time do you spend a day on email? How many times a day do you check it? If you’re like many Americans, you check it throughout the day and respond accordingly.
Technology is supposed to make us more efficient but if you don’t manage it, you risk being managed by it. I can attest to this as email overload is one of those ugly monsters that can easily come back as an unexpected time suck in my own calendar.
Here are 3 ways that have helped me tame email overload in my busy schedule:
1–Eliminate bells, chimes and other sounds that alert you every time a new email comes in. This simple action will reduce your distraction levels.
2–Check email at designated times. If you check your email only 3 times a day–say at 9:30, 1:00 and 4:00, instead of every few minutes you’ll increase your productivity. Research shows that every distraction takes you an average of 24 minutes to get back to your task. So, if you’re writing a report and you check your email 5 times in an hour, well, you won’t get far on your report.
3–Delete your email once you’ve dealt with it. A clean inbox will allow your brain to focus better.
4 — Unsubscribe to all those newsletters you rarely read or are no longer interested in. Of course, I know that does not include my award winning Biz Growth Tips newsletter! 🙂
5 — Get a high quality spam filter. I use Spam Assassin where I can adjust the settings for filtering out spam. I can also go in and blacklist specific email addresses that might still get through as well as white list specific email addresses I want to be sure not to miss.
6 — Adjust frequency settings. If you’re in multiple Linkedin groups like I am you don’t want to get the discussion news every day. I adjust all of my group settings to send me the news on a weekly basis. This really cut down on a lot of mail right there.
7 — Re-route your mail. If there are emails you don’t read every day, but you don’t want to unsubscribe (like those Linkedin Group discussions) you can reroute specific emails to go straight to a separate mail folders that live on the left column of your inbox. (or depending on what mail server you use just another place other than your main inbox location)
8 — Get another email address. If you have large amounts of emails that you want to reference for later reading or your someday reading consider getting a completely different email address — like a gmail address. That way your brain can focus on skimming only those emails you deem as important daily emails to read. This is another strategy that has cut my main inbox dramatically!
QUESTION: What other strategies have helped you tame your email overload? Please share your ideas in the comment box below.
About Yoon Cannon: Top business coach Yoon Cannon has helped thousands of small business owners, entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants and sales teams achieve dramatic results in growing your business. Over the past 20 years Yoon has started 4 successful companies and sold 3 of them. She offers fresh insights as a seasoned business growth expert. Yoon delivers proven process for your sales, marketing and management development. Grab free valuable gifts and resources at http://www.ParamountBusinessCoach.com To book Yoon to speak at your next event email: [email protected] To schedule a complimentary business coaching consultation call (215) 292-4947.
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