Email management starts with an honest self-assessment. Is it the emails that have gotten out of control or is it how you manage your emails? Do you check them around the clock? Do you feel the need to stop what you are doing to answer an email immediately? Do you get too much spam? Here are a few tips on how to save time, reduce the quantity of emails, and focus on quality.
- If you are on a large project, ask that all communication come from one point of contact, so you know it is important when you see it in your inbox.
- Devise a naming convention system for the subject line as well to help you sort with your team. For example – FYI, Action Required, Urgent, Daily Email.
- Unsubscribe from lists that are no longer necessary. I used to receive GSA schedule emails and I was on many lists for those types of contracts; I unsubscribed from all of those.
- Set boundaries with your team members. Ask that they send you a summary email at the end or the beginning of the day versus emails throughout the day. If an emergency or urgent response is needed, then they can email in the middle of the day using the naming system. This helps to minimize the emails throughout the day that can bog you down.
- Determine the best way for you personally to answer emails. Do you prefer only twice a day or hourly? Do you check as they come in? Choose one that works for your personality.
Create your own personal email road map that includes boundaries, prioritizing, and filters. Approach your emails with a new mindful awareness. Keep and prioritize the emails that support you and eliminate the emails that distract you. You will free up space… for creativity and productivity.