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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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    Last Updated on September 20, 2018

    How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

    How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

    If you’re going to spend 1/3 of our life at work, you should enjoy it, right?

    Trust me, I know that’s easier said than done. Difficult coworkers, less-than-desirable tasks, or even just being in the wrong position can all lead to a lack of enjoyment and fulfillment in your work.

    But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way? Or better yet, if you struggle with all of the above (and then some), what if I told you that enjoying your work and finding fulfillment regardless of those obstacles is possible?

    Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you because I was there too. Before implementing the tips below, I struggled to get through each day, much less find real fulfillment, in the office. Now, even after the toughest days on the job, I still come away with feelings of pride, accomplishment, and fulfillment. The best news is, so can you.

    If you’re ready to make those hours count and find happiness and fulfillment in the office, then read on to find out how to be happy at work and find fulfillment in your career:

    1. Discover the root(s) of the problem

    For this first step, we’ll need to think back to 8th-grade physics (humor me). We all know Newton’s 3rd law, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When you think about it, the same can be said outside of physics, and we see this law play out in our daily lives, day after day.

    Simply put, all the issues we deal with in the office (and life in general) affect us in a noticeable way.

    If you’re appreciated at work, like the work you do and receive frequent praise, promotions, or raises, then this will probably have an altogether positive effect on your life in the office.

    But what if we reverse this? What if you feel under appreciated, get passed up for promotions, or get denied raises? This is sure to affect the way you feel at work on a negative level.

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    So, before you can implement the steps of feeling happy and fulfilled at work, we first have to discover the reasons why you don’t feel that way already.

    Think about it, write a list, or make a mental note. Run through all the reasons you’re dissatisfied in the office, and don’t hold back. Knowing the exact obstacles you’re facing will make overcoming them that much easier.

    In fact, as a side-challenge to this article, I recommend picking the top three reasons contributing to your dissatisfaction at work and using the following tips to tackle them.

    2. Practice gratitude for an instant uplift

    Did you know the simple act of feeling grateful can increase your happiness and make you more fulfilled at work?[1]

    Well, it’s true, and it’s scientifically proven.

    Dr. Lisa Firestone notes that practicing gratitude “reminds us of what we lacked in the past.” Meaning, it serves as both a boost to happiness and a bit of a wake-up call that things have been or could be, much worse.

    Trying to conjure up feelings of gratitude can seem almost impossible when your work situation seems bleak, but hear me out: There are incredibly easy ways to get started and it doesn’t involve trying to “force” yourself to feel grateful about things that stress you out.

    For an instant pick-me-up, try this:

    Find a loose piece of paper, a blank sticky note, or anything you can write on, be it physical or digital. List just three things that you are absolutely without-a-doubt thankful for in your life.

    Now here’s the trick: Don’t just list what you’re grateful for, you have to list why you’re grateful for them, too.

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    For example, simply saying “I’m grateful for my kids” will probably make you feel good, sure, but what if we could amplify the warm, fuzzy feeling into real, lasting motivation?

    Instead, write the reason you’re so thankful for your children. Is it because they make you laugh and forget about other stressors? Or maybe they help to remind you of why you go to work every day in the first place?

    Whatever your reasons may be, jot them down and keep your list somewhere you can see it while you work. A quick glance at your gratitude list throughout the day can provide powerful, positive motivation to keep going.

    Bonus:

    If you can find just three things to be thankful for that specifically relate to your job, and list why those things make you grateful, your list can also help you find fulfillment in your work itself which can give you an even bigger boost of positivity throughout the day.

    3. Take meaningful time for yourself

    We all know creating a strong work-life balance can be crucial to feeling satisfied in our jobs, but rarely do we ever address how we’re spending our time outside of work.

    Many of us survive a 9-hour work day and commute home only to find ourselves busy with our personal to-do lists, running a household, and taking care of a child (or 2 or 3, and so on).

    If you spend all your time working, whether in the office or within your household, you’re going to feel drained at some point. This is why setting meaningful time for yourself every day is highly important.

    Look, I get it: I don’t know anyone in the working world who can shun all responsibility for a 3-movie marathon or happy hour with friends whenever they feel like it. But finding time for yourself, be it just 30 minutes to an hour, can really make a difference in how you feel at work.

    This works because you’ll have time to actually relax and let the day’s stress melt away while you enjoy something just for you. The to-do lists and stressors will still be there after you’re refreshed and ready to tackle them.

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    No time for me-time? Try this:

    If you have a busy household, you’ll need to capitalize on a block of time you know will be completely uninterrupted. The easiest way to do this: try waking up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than usual (or push bedtime back an hour if you’re a night owl, like me) and take time to do something you enjoy.

    This could be reading with a cup of tea, catching up on Facebook, spending time on a passion project—anything! As long as it’s meaningful to you, it works!

    Bonus:

    Starting your day with meaningful time for yourself can set you up to have a positive mood that lasts well into office hours, and having your me-time in the evening can give you something positive to look forward to during the day.

    4. Get productive and feel accomplished

    Don’t you just love the feeling of checking the last item off of a hefty to-do list? That’s because self-motivation can be a huge driver of positivity and success.

    When we accomplish something, no matter how small, it makes us feel good, plain and simple. Applying this tactic to your daily work can be the motivator you need to find fulfillment during the daily office grind.

    While there are tons of steps to get more done at work, I’ll share my personal favorite: Prioritizing.

    Now, many people handle prioritizing differently. Some like to tackle the little tasks first so they can spend focused time on the big to-dos. Others like to knock out the big items first and get to the smaller ones when they can.

    No matter which camp you’re in, you may be missing one crucial step: Time management.

    So how’s this work? When you factor in the amount of time your priorities will take, it can transform your productivity ten-fold.

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    Say you have three top priorities for the day. You might jump into the smaller ones or the bigger ones depending on your preferred method, and then find yourself out of time and bringing work home with you at the end of the day.

    This is prevented when you factor in time. Knowing how long each item will take, or deliberately setting specific blocks of time for your priorities can help you accomplish more in the same 8-9 (or 12) hours that you typically spend at work.

    Try this:

    Take a look at your priorities and consider how long they should take. Pop into your Google calendar (or Filofax, whatever works for you) and schedule time to work on your priority items around any important meetings or events of the day.

    The most important thing to remember is to stick to your dedicated time.

    Often, when we know exactly how long we have to work on something (and honor this time limit), we’re motivated to get more done on time to avoid taking work home at the end of the day.

    The bottom line

    There’s no need to waste 1/3 of our lives feeling unsatisfied at work. Luckily, you now have the tools to get started, take back your time, and become happy and fulfilled at work again.

    The only question is — which tip will you try first?

    Featured photo credit: Ellyot via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1]Psychology Today: The Healing Power of Gratitude

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