You’d probably be shocked to discover just how much time you’re actually spending on your emails every day: you may think it only adds up to 30 or 60 minutes each day, but the truth is, for most of us we’re spending a lot more time than that handling our emails.
And for Event Professionals, you simply don’t have time to waste: it’s imperative that you reduce the amount of time you spend dealing with emails.
Below we’ve listed 8 tips on how to (re)gain control of your Inbox and to get effective email management.
Tip 1: Only Process Your Email Once Each Day
Most people check their email several times a day because, like everyone else, we like to be kept in the loop and there could well be something important that needs our attention; but the trick here is to not process your emails straight away.
Choose a time of the day, perhaps first thing in the morning or last thing at the end of your working day, to deal with your emails. Prioritise the most important emails and deal with these ones first, so that if you don’t finish within the allotted timeframe then the rest can wait till tomorrow.
Tip 2: Not Every Email Needs a Reply
It may appear that you have an insurmountable amount of email to reply to, but the truth is that not every email requires a reply. Some people start wading through their email and reply to every single one that comes in, but realistically, if you continue this way you’ll end up thoroughly drained out by the end of the day and you won’t have achieved anything other than responding to emails.
And, let’s face it, most of the emails you reply to don’t result in a return response of any sort, so we can only assume that most people don’t read a lot of their emails and the remainder are emails that have been sent on impulse and the sender’s not really concerned about a reply.
So the message here is: don’t worry about responding to every single email! If an email demands a response then obviously you need to respond to it, but the rest is entirely up to you. Keep in mind that the senders of many of these emails are not expecting a response from you.
Tip 3: Create Template Email Replies
If you often send similar replies to emails, the best and quickest way to handle this type of email is to create template replies.
Just for interest’s sake, have a quick search through your Sent items and see if there’s a clear trend in the emails you respond to. Perhaps the majority of email you receive can be sorted into some of the following categories – Thank You Email, Feedback of events, Request for Information, or any other number of categories.
If you can see that there is a trend to your replies save your recurring emails into a text file. Then, as you reply to an email, you simply customize it according to the information requested in the original email. This will save you an enormous amount of time, particularly when compared to typing emails from scratch.
If you use Gmail or Google Apps you can use Gmelius to insert email templates more quickly, instead of using a text file.
Tip 4: The Use of Email Filters
An email filter is a tool that automatically sorts out your email when it hits your Inbox.
When using a filter there are two basic things that are required: the first is the term to look out for, and the second is the action to apply when the term has been matched. You can use as many filters as you need for your Inbox: some of your filters may include Subject Titles, Email Address, Body Text, a Specific Word or Phrase and so on.
Your email will be automatically sorted into each respective folder, which drastically minimizes the amount of administrative actions required by you.
Tip 5: Apply the One-Minute Rule to Your Emails
If it will take one minute or less to respond to an email you’ve received, then reply immediately and archive the email. You don’t need these emails sitting in your Inbox for long periods of time: it will take more time and effort just thinking about the email and trying to remember to reply to it.
The important point here is that you stick to the one-minute time-frame when responding. Sticking to this rule will allow you to clear a lot of your email in a short amount of time.
Tip 6: Snooze the Email If It Requires a Longer Response
Snoozing emails is a very handy tool: it allows you to temporarily archive certain emails until such time as you’re ready to deal with them. Then, at the time of your choosing, these snoozed emails will re-appear at the top of your Inbox. If you use Gmail, why not set up Gmelius to snooze emails and receive reminders on emails of your choosing?
Tip 7: Limit the Time You Are Spending on Your Email?
Now it’s time to set a limit on the amount of time you spend on your emails. With the exception of the one-minute rule, you need to limit the overall amount of time you’re spending working on your Inbox. Time yourself the next time you’re checking your emails and see how long it takes for you to process, read, respond, and sort through your emails.
Now ask yourself how much of that time was well spent. We believe that your answer to this question will be that most of this time served absolutely no purpose at all.
Sometimes you’ll receive an email which is really long. When this occurs, scan through the message and see if there’s anything relevant to you, then process the email accordingly. Reply using the one-minute rule if you need to, or archive it if you don’t plan on responding straight away. If you intend replying to this message, remember that, just because the sender wrote a long message, it doesn’t necessarily require a long response. The last thing you need is to create an email exchange of long (boring) emails – just log into your email account, do what needs to be done, then get out!
Tip 8: Unsubscribe from Unwanted Emails
We’re all guilty of signing up for newsletters and feeds on impulse as we cruise around the web; emails that, once we start receiving them, we immediately lose interest in. As you go through your Inbox, if you find yourself deleting the same emails without giving them a second thought, then you need to unsubscribe from these annoying emails immediately. We also recommend signing up for Unroll.me which bundles and allows you to quickly unsubscribe from newsletters.
We hope that the above advice will assist in taking back control of your emails, thus helping to boost productivity by giving you back your work day.