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Increase Productivity With These Email Management Strategies

Increase Productivity With These Email Management Strategies

I’ll never argue with the power of email marketing, and what it can do for your business. Did you know using Gmail.com, Hotmail.com, and Outlook is a form of email marketing? This was a question asked by the top bloggers, and they all agreed that as soon as you send an email message with a specific purpose, you are marketing something or another. It doesn’t matter if you’re arranging an event, a get together with friends for Christmas, or trying to close a deal with a client because these are all forms of email marketing.

What energizes me is how big email has become over the last 20 years. I remember before sending a message would require a trip to the post office, however now it’s booting up your computer or unlocking your mobile phone. We all must agree that email has changed the way the entire world communicates with each other…right?

However, even though email messaging has provided us with better communication, we still run into problems. We have a hard time managing every message that enters our inbox. For example, I’ll get up in the morning with 100 emails that I must skim through. I’ll have to segment which ones are important, and which ones I can discard as spam. This takes enormous work so I’m always searching for better ways to organize my inbox. If I don’t, it’ll cut into my productivity slowing down my entire day.

So far, I’ve utilized some cool productivity hacks to incorporate with my email management which has helped. Recently I uncovered a few more which I’ll like to outline for you today.

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Marking Emails Unread

Over the years, I’ve been using the “marked as unread” button more than before, and it has helped the way I respond to emails. One of the most time-consuming things about email is trying to locate the ones you must respond to. I’ll read an email and want to respond to it later simply because I have a meeting or another engagement. However, by the time I open my inbox, I’ll have another 50 emails so will skim through looking for the “important” email I forget to reply to before.

I started to mark these emails as “unread” because they are easy to find when I’m back at work and want to reply to these messages. I simply select the locate unread messages, and these important ones will pop-up.

Stick to a Routine

I treat my email inbox like my daily exercise routine – twice a day. I only check and respond to emails twice a day at a specific time. The other times I’m dedicated to my work, not losing focus no matter what because I have a business to run.

I’ll admit getting into a solid routine is tough especially when you have a habit of checking emails every 5 minutes. It doesn’t help that you have access to your email through your mobile phone. With mobile phones, it’s an easy fix because you don’t have to setup your email client, but getting out of the “5-minute email checking habit” can be tough taking discipline to knock off.

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Start small and build yourself up to a routine suitable for you. When I started, I went from checking email messages 10 times to 8, then 6,5,3 and now 2 times only.

Hire Someone to Help

This can get expensive however if you have money to burn, you should hire someone to organize your inbox. I’ll admit many private firms frown on such a practice, but if you don’t have anything to hide, it’s something you should consider. This person will be responsible for cleaning up your inbox, forwarding very important emails, removing spam, and even replying. However, as mentioned it can get very expensive, but you’ll save a lot of time and increase productivity too.

Try it out and be clear about what you expect from the email secretary.

Acknowledge Receipt

I’ll admit I’m guilty of this because when someone doesn’t acknowledge they’ve received my email, I’ll keep writing to them trying to get a follow-up. You’ll be surprised how a simple acknowledgment of receipt will lower emails, and increase productivity. You’ll have fewer people hounding you for a response giving you more time to focus on the task at hand. If you have someone helping you manage your inbox, then the job of acknowledgment just got easier.

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Email Applications

Technology has changed the way we communicate, and applications have changed the way we organize our email inbox. Over the years, I have worked with several clients who are using smart apps to manage their email messages. For example, you have yesware which will notify you when someone has read your email. This allows you to plan before the reply, making you more efficient with your response.

You also have a neat application Hiri.com which provides a whole handful of features. Here are just a few:

  • Manage calendars, tasks, and contacts.
  • Emails and tasks side by side.
  • Segment what you need to do and what you need to know about. This way you focus on the emails or tasks that require completion.
  • Have other users under your application, and delegate an email task to them.
  • Time how often you want to check email messages. You have a remainder telling you not to check emails so often allowing you to be more productive.
  • Power search.
  • Security and safety features.
  • Free for up to 10 users.

These are just a few examples of how powerful some applications truly are and how they can help with your productivity.

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product-hiri-email-client

    Create Folders and Filters

    If you are not using folders and filters with your current email application, then you’re wasting enormous time. I have filters setup that segment messages as they arrive. They’ll be placed into folders I’ve designed based solely on importance. Each time I log in, I’ll check the important folder right away and give these emails priority. I also have folders for lower priority messages which can wait for a reply from me.

    Start to manage your inbox and save enormous time going forward. With so many resources available, you can learn what strategies to apply almost immediately. You also have applications for free which you can use to assist you along the way. If you need to add filters and create folders then take initiative right now and put them into place.

    Featured photo credit: http://blog.evercondo.com/ via blog.evercondo.com

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    Rizvan Ullah

    Online Blogger

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

    How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

    We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

    So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

    While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

    Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

    What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

    How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

    But what does being productive actually entail?

    Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

    Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

    It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

    Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

    9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

    1. Avoid Multitasking

    Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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    Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

    If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

    2. Turn off Notifications

    According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

    Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

    The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

    Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

    3. Manage Interruptions

    There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

    Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

    If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

    By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

    4. Eat the Frog

    Mark Twain once famously said that:

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    “if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

    What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

    We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

    Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

    5. Cut Down on Meetings

    Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

    You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

    The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

    But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

    If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

    6. Utilize Tools

    Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

    If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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    And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

    Some examples of tools that could be used:

    Communication
    • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
    • Samepage for video conference software.
    • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
    Task Management
    • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
    • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
    • Wekan for an open source option.
    Database Management
    Time Tracking
    • Clockify for a free tracker.
    • TMetric for workspace integrations.
    • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

    You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

    7. Declutter and Organize

    Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

    Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

    Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

    Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

    8. Take Breaks

    Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

    As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

    Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

    Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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    9. Drink Water

    Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

    Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

    Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

    A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

    If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

    You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

    The Bottom Line

    The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

    After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

    In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

    A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

    Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

    More About Boosting Productivity

    Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

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