Harvard Business Review (HBR) just published an article on conquering email overload. HBR did not offer any special magic but it reinforced best practices and they’re worth repeating. Here you go:
Tip of the day – 7 Steps to Conquer the Email Monster
1. Turn off the spigot – Unsubscribe to anything you don’t absolutely need. Also, turn off any LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook automatic update notifications that aren’t important.
2. Use “Rules” – Set your email “rules” to send certain emails straight into designated folders. This reduces mail in your inbox and saves time spent handling every email individually. For starters, try this with any non-essential emails, like newsletters.
3. Unglue your Eyes – Schedule short windows during the day to check email. For those who must respond quickly, check 5 minutes hourly. For those who can check less, schedule 15 minute periods 3-4 times per day. Minimize the email window after your time is up.
4. Stop the “cc” Overload – Talk with your team and get everyone on board with guidelines for “cc-ing”. Treat email as a drug, helpful under the right circumstances but toxic if overused . Only send what is needed and no more.
5. Prioritize Response Time – Respond to urgent matters during your email window. Delay all others for an end of day clean up. Then respond to the remaining and clean out your inbox.
6. Use an Assistant – Have an assistant set up “rules” on your email account for you. If possible, let the assistant read and sort your email in anyway that saves you from doing everything yourself.
7. Stay on Top – After you get the inbox cleaned out, stay on top of it daily or at least weekly. If your email box is completely overflowing, move all the emails into a folder labeled “inbox”. Go through those bit by bit during your clean-up time. It’s likely you can quickly delete much of the old build-up.
Mostly remember you are not alone and regular simple habits keep the email monster in it’s cage!
Resource of the Day: