Take a step back and think about how much time you spend in a day checking e-mails, trying to get in touch with people. Believe it or not, having good e-mail management skills can be equated to being productive. With the large amount of time e-mails take up in most of our lives, learning how to optimize the way you deal with e-mails can greatly influence the way you balance between productive and free time in your day.
For another, being glued to your e-mail server for hours at a stretch is often a way of avoiding the fact that you have work to do by passively talking and communicating about it. It's important to not mistake laziness for productivity when you spend less time actually doing work than e-mailing about it.
Using the three simple steps below, dealing with e-mails might be less of a task and more of an accomplishment. Have any more suggestions? Be sure to share it with us in the comments section below!
Stick to a Schedule
While it might seem ridiculous to incorporate blocked time slots to check e-mail into your daily schedule, if you spend an excessive amount of time waiting for and responding to e-mails, then this might be the way to go. Think about it—very rarely do you need to respond to a note less than a few hours from when you receive it.
E-mails often contains lists of tasks you need to accomplish. They serve as a reminder of things you forgot to do or need to add onto your agenda. And more likely than not, they are a source of stress. If this is the case, reduce the burden on your day by allotting yourself only specific times when you will let yourself be bogged down by e-mails.
There are several mail servers which have options that let you choose the times in the day when you receive mails. Using these services might bring you one step closer to freeing up your day!
Work those Folders and Archives
Being disorganized reaches its peak when it comes to e-mails. Very few of us (including myself!) take the time to sort e-mails based on urgency or subject matter. Just think about the sheer amount of time it takes to dig through hundreds of e-mails to find an important message from months ago: all of which can be avoided from being organized from the start.
Be sure to check out the new Mailbox application by Orchestra, Inc. if you haven't already. This nifty application allows you to archive e-mails that you don't need in the forefront of your mailbox, push away e-mails that you don't want to deal with until a later period in time, and sort messages according to their topic. Let this application enhance your productivity and time management for the better!
Avoiding E-mails All Together
While it's easier said than done, avoiding e-mails might in fact enhance your level of productivity rather than impair it. Just think about it: how many times have you ignored an e-mail just because of the sheer number of people CC'ed on the communication? And how many times do you procrastinate on replying to a message, only to forget about it all together?
It's easy to loose an e-mail among the stream that comes pouring into your mailbox each day. What's worse is sending someone an important electronic message, only to wonder if they will end up seeing the message at all. Having a computer on you at all times does not mean you need to boycott other modes of communication. Don't be afraid to pick up the phone and leave someone a voice call when you need to get a note across—fast.