If you’re a busy bee like us at Aspect, managing emails can seem like a huge chore; scouring through spam to find the most important messages can be extremely time consuming!
Did you know that the average worker now checks their emails around 36 times an hour? That’s a full 13 hours per week spent reading, deleting, sending and sorting through emails.
It’s even proven that unnecessary inbox clutter can cause distraction and decrease employee IQ by around 10 points.
So now you’re wondering, how you can prevent this loss of time and brain power from happening to you?
Well we have the answers, here are 12 tactics for you to beat the chaos and improve your use of email at work.
1. Write direct subject lines. Confirm, verify, examine, review, discuss; these to-the-point instructions will help the recipient better understand the purpose of the email so that they can provide a quicker response. This in turn will encourage a speedy and straight forward reply so that you’ll spend less time trying to decipher what their email means.
2. Turn off alerts at certain points in the day. If you have something that needs to be finished without distraction, turn of alerts and give it your full attention. Experts reckon you should only be checking your emails about 2 – 4 times a day.
3. Use ‘Clutter’ in Office 365. A helpful filtering option to improve your use of email, for users of Office 365. Clutter is similar to anti-spam and will move less important emails into a folder to be viewed later. This is based on your individual reading habits.
4. Pick up the phone. Seems kind of obvious? Not necessarily. Some of us get so bogged down in typing emails that we forget we still have use of a telephone and this could actually deliver the message much quicker! If a discussion leads to more than two emails, use the telephone.
5. Give the email to somebody else. Can’t answer it? Another colleague probably can, click the forward button and offload some of the email burden to somebody else.
6. Create Folders. Again, it might seem a bit obvious but you’d be surprised at how many professionals don’t do this. Generating subfolders and taking ten minutes every day to sort through emails can seriously reduce stress. The overwhelming sense of hopelessness you feel every time you enter your inbox will disappear if you carefully organise the 522 emails that you have padding out your inbox. If messages are archived in relevant categories, you can also easily access them in the future.
7. Use shortcuts. If you’re using Outlook, type these handy shortcuts into the search box to improve your use of email and find particular messages quickly:
8. Take the Revive Your Inbox 21 day course. It’s completely free and promises to help you handle your emails more effectively, improve communication skills and identify your email personality, but most importantly, enjoy more free time.
9. Consider collaboration tools. Slack, Yammer and Socialcast just to name a few. Businesses are replacing internal emails with social networks for business. A bit like Facebook but for work!
10. Setup an out of office email. If you’re away, let your contacts know. This will prevent you from returning to an inbox full of multiple emails from the same contact who was unaware you weren’t there to respond.
11. Consider email templates. To do this in Outlook, click the Home tab > New items > More items > Choose Form. But be careful as this could be seen as impersonal depending on the context of the email!
Email should be a tool that supports your business, not one that undermines it. So share this post and assist your colleagues with their email anxiety!
Do you have any other email tips to share?