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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

    Rizvan is the founder of CareerCrawlers. He shares career and motivational advice on Lifehack.

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    Published on January 7, 2021

    How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

    How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

    Some people see the trees for the forest, and some see only the forest, meaning they lack strong attention to detail. But even if you’re one of the people who take a macro rather than a micro view, true professionalism requires balancing both.

    If focusing on the fine points is not your forte, you will benefit from training yourself to pay attention to details. You will profit by saving yourself time, effort, money, and credibility.

    Why Training Yourself in Attention to Details Pays Off

    You add value to your organization when you make the effort to ensure that you performed your work thoroughly and effectively. This is why job postings often list “attention to details” among the required skills.

    When you present your supervisor or client with well-completed, high-quality work the first time, it maximizes your value and minimizes wasted time. Detail-oriented people are also more adept at catching mistakes that could lead to costly blunders.

    Moreover, attention to detail is an indicator of possessing other in-demand employee qualities, such as organization, thoroughness, and focus. In some professions, such as accounting, engineering, medical research, and more, you can only excel if you have trained yourself to pay attention to details.

    In other professions, possessing strong attention to detail is the very quality that will get you promoted to a position where you will be asked to consider the big picture.

    Finally, if you are the “go-to” details person, everyone else on the team can relax a bit. They know the project is in good hands and will likely throw you more projects as a reward. This will ultimately lead to your advancement.

    3 Important Aspects of Becoming More Detail-Oriented

    Here are the 3 important things you need to learn if you want to remedy your lack of attention to detail:

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    1. Respect deadlines
    2. Understand the work-flow plan
    3. Build in time to mess up

    1. Respect Deadlines

    Deadlines lend all projects a finish line. One smart idea is to take the given deadline and work backward from it, calculating when your piece of the project is due. Then, if you stick to the proscribed schedule for completing the mini-projects that you have, you will never miss a deadline.

    One important note on this: It is smarter to stick to the deadline and turn in work that merits a “B+” than to blow the deadline with “A” work. Chances are, through revision and suggested changes from others on the team, you can bring up your B+ work to an A later. But if you disregard deadlines, you will lose the respect of your boss and fellow teammates.

    2. Understand the Work-Flow Plan

    Your team is developing work in conjunction with other teams who have projects and deadlines of their own. When you grasp the whole work-flow plan, you may be able to either add insight to the greater project or to your own smaller piece of it that others at the firm will consider valuable.

    3. Build in Time to Mess Up

    You can expect that “what can go wrong will go wrong.” Don’t overpromise on deadlines. Something likely will mess up, but when it does if you built in the time to fix it, those around you won’t freak out.

    Chances are, you already give your attention to several details. Take heart. You can do this! You can overcome your lack of attention to detail and become more detail-oriented.

    For starters, consider this: Most people take the time and put in extra effort into the activities or undertakings that matter to them most. Training yourself to become more detail-oriented can mean adopting a similar pattern of behavior.

    Apply the same attention you give to your appearance. Are you a meticulous dresser? Do you pay attention to how you pair patterns and colors, and how you accessorize a particular outfit?

    This is the same system to use when you lack attention to detail with your work. Give every item careful consideration so that each one contributes to the perfectly pieced-together whole.

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    Assemble the ingredients the way you do when you cook. Cooking and baking from scratch require close attention to details as you measure and add each ingredient in sequence, and you time everything so that the meal comes together at the same time.

    Similarly, your work product requires you to gauge whether all the ingredients have been added and that your final product is delivered on time.

    Organize your business network like you do your social contacts. If you follow a broad base of friends and acquaintances on social media, you can apply similar skills to stay up-to-date on details associated with business acquaintances.

    When you meet somebody who could be influential to your career or a resource for improving your skills, follow that person on social media. Respond to their posts to keep the lines of communication flowing.

    12 Tips to Help You if You Lack Attention to Detail

    Teaching yourself to take note of important details involves sharpening your perceptions and thinking ahead. The following tips will help you adopt these practices. Master these habits when training yourself to become detail-oriented.

    1. Learn to Listen Well

    You will pick up relevant information and needed nuance when you apply the skills of active listening. In conversations, train yourself to make eye contact, give your undivided attention to the speaker, and ask pertinent follow-up questions.

    Training yourself to pay better attention to details in conversations includes learning to fully concentrate on what others have to say. If you find it hard, there’s no harm in taking notes on what they say.

    2. Pay Attention to Social Cues

    Make a point of noticing body language and facial expressions that provide insights into how others perceive a situation. Social cues offer details that give you an understanding of how words and actions impact others. The infamous character Michael Scott of the television show “The Office” epitomizes the consequences of not paying attention to others’ body language.[1]

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    3. Follow Rules

    Rules and protocols usually come about from lessons learned and are put in place to avoid further mishaps—whether from a safety or efficiency standpoint. If you’re given step-by-step procedures to follow, check them off as you go. Also, return to the rules at the project’s end just to make sure you adhered to them all.

    4. Take Notes

    Note-taking is a way to boost your retention and gives you something to refer back to when you need to keep track of pertinent details. You will also heighten your focus as you listen for relevant information. Review your notes shortly after the meeting or conversation and highlight the content that you intend to apply.

    5. Prioritize What Needs Your Attention Now

    When you have a full slate of work that demands your attention, take a few moments to sort assignments from most to least urgent. Keep a calendar, spreadsheet, or project planning software up-to-date with schedules and deadlines to help you stay organized.

    As you tackle each urgent assignment, give it your full attention so no details are missed. Give yourself ample time—especially if you tend to be someone who waits until the last minute—as rushing can make you overlook important details.

    6. Have a Detail-Oriented Assistant Check Your Work

    If you lack attention to detail, then it makes sense to seek help from someone detail-oriented. If you have this option, take advantage of it. Two sets of eyes are better than one. Just be sure to credit your assistant for their help once the project is completed.

    7. Learn the Rules of Writing Well

    English is a difficult language, and grammar, punctuation, and spelling can all sabotage you unless you pay attention to detail. When in doubt, look it up. Free to use website services such as Grammarly can help.

    8. Proofread Before You Hit Send

    Nothing is perfect in its first draft. If you lack attention to detail, then put in the extra effort before submitting things. Before you send off any written work, check carefully not only for misspellings and incomplete sentences but also for improper tone, inappropriate colloquialisms, and inconsistent formatting. When your written communications are error-free, they will have their intended impact.

    9. Minimize Distractions

    It is impossible to stay focused when colleagues carry on conversations nearby or your mobile notifications ding you throughout the day. Do your best to limit distractions.

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    If you are working where there is a lot of noise or side activity, try wearing noise-canceling headphones or seeking out a quiet corner. Disable your notifications when you need to focus, and resolve to only check them after you have completed your assignment.

    10. Take Breaks

    It may sound counter-intuitive to stop and take a walk, but it’s necessary. Walk away from the screen. Moving from one task to the next across the span of your workday is a recipe for brain fatigue. Give your brain a recess time when you come to a natural stopping place or after you complete one project and before you start the next. These short pauses are necessary for sorting through all the details needed for coming up with successful solutions.

    11. Make Time for Reflection

    At the end of a workday, take a few minutes to go over the day’s events in your mind. What was said or relayed in conversations? What is the status of the projects you worked on? What else occurred that you should pay attention to? Could there have been any details you might have missed that you should address tomorrow?

    12. Keep a Detailed To-Do List

    This simple organizational tool is your best ally for getting your work done on time and for paying attention to the details. If you are pressed for time (and who isn’t?), write your list to coordinate with dayparts.

    Allot a certain number of hours to complete each task, do it, and then check it off. Nothing feels more rewarding than completing all the tasks on your list. But if you can’t finish them, then carry them over to the following day.

    Final Thoughts

    Details may seem small, but they can become a lot larger when they are overlooked. If you know you lack attention to detail, commit to training yourself to embrace the many facets that can help you consistently excel in the tasks you set out to accomplish.

    When you begin to catch your mistakes in advance or apply the tidbits of information you gathered from paying close attention, you will know that you have trained yourself in the fundamentals of becoming detail-oriented. After that, you should start hearing the phrase “Great job!” more often.

    More Tips on Boosting Your Attention to Detail

    Featured photo credit: Cristina Gottardi via unsplash.com

    Reference

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