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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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    Last Updated on March 29, 2021

    5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

    5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

    When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

    What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

    The Dream Type Of Manager

    My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

    I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

    My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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    “Okay…”

    That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

    I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

    The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

    The Bully

    My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

    However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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    The Invisible Boss

    This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

    It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

    The Micro Manager

    The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

    Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

    The Over Promoted Boss

    The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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    You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

    The Credit Stealer

    The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

    Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

    3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

    Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

    1. Keep evidence

    Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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    Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

    Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

    2. Hold regular meetings

    Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

    3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

    Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

    However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

    Good luck!

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