I work with several clients who are trapped by their email. By trapped, I mean that they spend more time staring at their Inbox than getting actual stuff done. Emails often get lost in their Inbox because it’s so full. Below are a few tips to help:
Check your email twice per day
This is a great tip I took away from Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Work Week. Your productivity will improve immensely if you take this approach. Set up an auto-response letting the sender know when you’ll be checking email and if it’s an emergency, let them know they can call you.
Don’t check your email unless you’re going to do something about them
I’m guilty of this. I sit down to check my email just to see what’s arrived; rather than checking my email when I have time to take action. A lot of time is wasted by reading emails twice.
Clean out your Inbox
My Inbox has 4 messages in it right now. These are messages that I have to take action on. Once an email has been acted upon, it gets filed in a folder and is removed from my Inbox. No time is wasted looking through messages that don’t require action.
Take the time to set up filters that automatically handle incoming email based on criteria that you specify – you’ll thank me later. For example, set up a filter that sends incoming e-newsletters to your “e-newsletters” folder. This email should not be coming into your Inbox since it does not require immediate action. Another popular filter handles messages that you’re cc’d on. I’m usually cc’d on an email that is a “nice to know” communication which doesn’t require immediate attention. When I have time, I’ll take a look at my “cc’d folder”.
Do you have a time-saving email tips?