A constantly growing number of e-mails is a headache for most of us. An inbox out of control, is a very uncomfortable feeling. What if there is an important e-mail from a client or your boss in your fish steam of unread e-mails. And at the other end of your e-mails, someone is waiting, waiting and waiting for your response.
So far, I have taken you through step 1 Mind mapping and step 2 Make weekly goals. But this is not enough to have an efficient day at work. We all know, it is difficult to stay focused. Every time you try to focus on your tasks, e-mails keep popping up. You dive into the e-mails, you get overwhelmed or you ignore it. I am not an expert, but I really try to follow these eight rules!
8 tips to manage your e-mails!
- Send less e-mails! You should always try to use other options, i.e. use chat functions. By using chat, you communicate faster without getting a lot of e-mails filling up your inbox. Or walk over to your colleague and ask. You can also agree on some e-mail rules within your team.
- Close it! If you want to work and focus, close your e-mail.
- Delete! Every day you receive e-mails that do not require any response. Read and delete! I delete all the time, on a taxi ride, waiting for the bus or a meeting to start.
- Forward and delegate now! Delegating at an early stage is important. If not, you will be stuck with all the tasks, working late hours.
- Get it out of the way or flag it! If an e-mail requires an action, which takes little time or has a short deadline, do it sooner than later. If it requires more than five minutes of your time – flag it or mark as unread and follow up later!
- Schedule e-mail time with yourself! I am really trying to follow this rule, but it is not easy. I try schedule <45 minutes at the end of the day to handle my e-mails. E-mails, I left untouched in tip number 5.
- Create good archives! More than 300 e-mails in my inbox stress me. I try to archive at least once a month.
- When you lose control! I experienced this situation when I returned from my maternity leave and I had 2.500 e-mails in my inbox. I spent a Friday at my home office in our attic. My only mission was to read, delete, answer, handle and archive e-mails. A real all-out effort! After five hours of intense work, I went from 2.500 to 20 e-mails in my inbox. Aaaah… what a great feeling!
Good luck with your e-mails! A great way to communicate, but also a terrible distraction!
Please, feel free to share my blog post in your social media! It would make me really happy!
All the best,