Dealing with email is a never-ending task that often takes away from more important job duties. However, email doesn’t have to be a burden. Here are some strategies that can help you manage your email more effectively so that it doesn’t become a time-consuming distraction.
#1 – Set Boundaries
The first strategy for email management and organization is to set boundaries with your email. For some, this could mean explaining to other departments that direct messaging through interoffice communications is preferred.
For others, it may mean setting aside specific times during the day to check and respond to messages (ex: first thing in the morning or after lunch). Setting boundaries is an essential step that can help prevent email from becoming a distraction.
#2 – Prioritize
Prioritizing emails may sound difficult to those in positions where every email is important. However, the truth is that not all emails need to be answered immediately, and some aren’t as important as others.
Fortunately, many email software allows users to set up folders and filters, which allow you to sort your emails based on their importance. Some great examples of how to prioritize emails by importance include:
- Emails from boss
- Emails from customers
- Emails from co-workers
- Emails from a secondary customer or co-worker group (A/B split)
- Emails with urgent requests
Once emails start getting directed into the appropriate folders, it will be a lot easier to prioritize emails according to their importance or based on the boundaries you have set for dealing with your inbox.
#3 – Create Templates
If you work in a job position where you receive the same type of message frequently, create email templates. These are essentially pre-written responses to your frequently asked questions or requests for information that can be sent out quickly and efficiently without requiring much effort on your part.
Templates can be set up in just about any email software with the ability to create custom responses. Some of the most common email template responses include:
- Thank you emails
- Customer service responses
- Offers to help desk staff
- Responses for frequently asked questions
- Responses for internal requests or notifications
There are many different types of email templates that can be created. It really depends on your job position. However, the more templates you have set up, the more time you can save responding to information requests.
#4 – Avoid Multi-Tasking
Multitasking is often difficult when it comes to email management and organization. This is because most people tend to check their email while also performing another task (ex: working on a project, talking on the phone, etc.). While checking email in small doses may seem harmless enough, you will find that responding to emails is much easier when it can be done uninterrupted.
To avoid the temptation of multitasking while checking your inbox, turn off any notifications that may pop up on your screen. Even just seeing a new email notification may be enough to tempt you into checking your inbox, and that’s a temptation you want to avoid if possible.
#5 – Delegate
Just as not every email you receive is important, it’s also true that not every email requires your direct attention. If you notice that you’re spending a lot of time dealing with emails that can be delegated to other staff members, delegate them out immediately.
Not only does delegating emails to staff help you with time management and organization, but delegating emails is also a great way to empower your team members. It shows that you trust them to handle responsibilities on their own. The more responsibility you provide for other staff members, the more eager they’ll be to assist you when necessary.
Streamline Email Management for a More Productive Work Day
By setting boundaries, creating email templates, prioritizing emails, and delegating unimportant tasks to trusted staff members, you can free up time in your day for more productive activities that will ultimately help your business reach its operational goals better.