Advertising
Advertising

Five Simple Yet Effective Tips for Managing Your Email

Five Simple Yet Effective Tips for Managing Your Email


    Everyone nowadays gets way too many emails and spends too much time dealing with them. If you feel like you are wasting too much time on email, you need re-evaluate how you manage it. Here are five simple tips to help you regain control over your inbox so you can do more important (and fun) things.

    1. Keep it under six sentences

    Nobody likes to read long emails. As more people are checking their emails on their phones and tablets, you need to be succinct with what you write.

    Try to keep it brief by using no more than six sentences. This will force you to get to the point. If you need more sentences – consider calling the person or having a face-to-face meeting to communicate your thoughts.

    Advertising

    2. Make it second priority

    Don’t be a slave to your inbox. If you are, someone else has power of how effective your days are and that’s a recipe for disaster. The issue with people treating their inbox as their to-do list is that external people have direct control on how you go through your day and what your workload will be. Instead, you should be the one in control.

    Here is an easy way to get started with this: don’t check your email first thing in the morning. Make it the second thing – after you have done your most important task.

    This first simple step allows to take back control over your day. Even if email is very important to you, give this a try. If that means post-posing checking your email by half an hour – do it. That is plenty of time to do one important task.

    3. Don’t always respond instantly

    Email is not the best medium for urgent matters – that’s where phone calls excel. However, email is great for correspondence where you don’t require an immediate response.

    Advertising

    That’s why you want to make it a habit to not always respond to emails immediately. The idea is that you do not want to condition others that email is an effective medium for urgent matters. If the other person notices that you always respond to email within ten minutes, that person will start to assume he or she can email you for urgent matters.

    No.

    You want to avoid that as much as possible. Be upfront with people when you communicate a lot via email. I always tell others that they will get a response from me within two business days. If they need to reach me for something urgent, they can call or text me. Otherwise, I prefer to receive emails.

    4. Email hotspots

    If you constantly checking your email and you process your email as they come in, you are wasting a lot of time. Instead, you should check your email in batches. Batching tasks is an effective way of processing and getting things done that are similar in nature. That’s why you should do this as well as part of how you manage your emails. Here is a simple tip to do that:

    Advertising

    Check emails at fixed times and spend no more than half an hour each time.

    I like to call this concept “email hotspots” – the times of the day when you process your email in batches. This requires you to turn off your email program and to learn that it is okay to process emails at fixed times each day.

    This guidelines is flexible depending on how many emails you get. If you get less than thirty emails a day, checking your email twice in a day should be good enough. In a typical 9-to-5 day, 10am (you have an hour to do one task before checking your email) and 3pm are great times to do this.

    5. Touch it once

    The touch it once principle says that each item should only be handled once. This is especially the case for emails. Have you ever read an email, thought about replying back, postponed it and you had to reread the email again to understand what it was about? It happens to the best of us.

    Advertising

    Doing this for one email is fine. What if you have to do this with twenty emails? You will be wasting a lot of time. It’s more effective to deal with emails as you read them for the first time. Don’t let emails linger around “for later”. Touch it once. Read and decide what to do right away with it. If it takes less than two minutes to respond, do it right away.

    If you have to respond but for some reason you can’t – put the email in the drafts folder. This folder will have all the emails you’ve started to reply to, but have not sent yet. As you come back to it, you know where to find your email and you can promptly respond.

    (Photo credit: Businessman Working on Email via Shutterstock)

    More by this author

    How I Learned 5 Habits in 30 Days Five Simple Yet Effective Tips for Managing Your Email The Need for Work/Life Balance 7 Time Management Tips for Road Warriors

    Trending in Communication

    1 What Is Self-Image (And How to Change It for a Happier Life) 2 11 Things Overachievers Do Differently 3 What’s the Purpose of Life? A Guide to Live with Meaning 4 13 Things You Can Do to Build Emotional Resilience 5 How to Overcome Trust Issues in a Relationship (And Learn to Love Again)

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on April 8, 2020

    11 Things Overachievers Do Differently

    11 Things Overachievers Do Differently

    We all know some overachievers: supermoms who manage to get online degrees between cleaning, cooking, and taking kids to practice; students who write 10-page papers when the directions call for 4; managers whose resumes look more like pages from the Guinness book of Records.

    How do they do it all? How is it possible that one person can graduate at the top of their class, found an orphanage in India, run 30k marathons, write a best-selling book, travel all over the world and learn to speak Mandarin Chinese while having a full-time job?

    What’s the secret of an overachiever? Here’re 11 things overachievers do differently that you can learn from.

    1. They Know How to Manage Their Time

    It’s pretty simple actually – you can never become an overachiever if you don’t know how to organize your time efficiently.

    The great thing is that overachievers are ready to share their knowledge and time management talent with the rest of the world. Read The 4-Hour Workweek or The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

    2. They Don’t Spend Hours Watching TV or Playing Computer Games

    Mostly because they have better things to do, like exercising, reading, spending an evening with their family or volunteering to work in the local soup kitchen. Their philosophy is simple – the world is full of wonderful things to try, explore and experience. Watching TV is not one of them.

    Advertising

    3. They Are Obsessed With Perfection

    Imagine Steve Jobs’ work approach and you’ll understand the level of perfection and painfully high standards that overachievers set for themselves and those around them. Often it pays off (especially if they focus on just one domain). But sometimes compulsive over-striving turns into a sure-fire road to disappointments and unfinished tasks.

    Learn how to strike a balance: How Not to Let Perfectionism Secretly Screw You Up

    4. They Know How To Inspire

    Overachievers learn quickly that it is much easier to achieve goals through collaboration (and especially delegation). So they know how to inspire, encourage, persuade and motivate people around them. Even though they often drive their team crazy with their stubbornness and perfectionism, people quickly follow under the spell of their enthusiasm and greater vision.

    Learn these 10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively.

    5. They Set Clear Goals

    The term “overachiever” itself implies that they know how to achieve goals. That is kind of hard to do if your goals are vague, unclear and lack specific deadline, which is why overachievers educate themselves, read goal-setting books, and think about the best way to approach a new task.

    Although, it’s worth mentioning that overachievers usually use their time management and goal-setting skills towards competitive, “I want to kick butt” type of goals rather than self-improvement, mastery goals.

    Advertising

    Take a look at these tips to help you set clearer goals: What Are SMART Goals (And How to Use Them to Become Successful)

    6. They Are Organized

    It’s hard to imagine a disorganized overachiever, isn’t it? Their great organizational and planning skills usually serve three main purposes: keeping track of time, keeping track of progress and keeping track of achievements.

    This hasn’t been confirmed by scientific research yet, but overachievers might actually get a “runner’s high” from crossing tasks off their to-do lists, and making new to-do lists.

    Here’s How to Organize Your Life: 10 Habits of Really Organized People

    7. They Try to Avoid Failure at All Costs

    Some psychologists believe that overachievers place their self-worth on their competence, driven by an underlying fear of failure. Rather than setting and striving for goals based on a pure desire to achieve, their core motivation becomes avoiding failure. This may explain the fact that overachiever beat themselves up for even little setbacks and seemingly-insignificant mistakes.

    But be aware that having a strong fear of failure can wrek havoc your productivity. So the best thing to do? Learn to conquer the fear: Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It)

    Advertising

    8. They Love Awards

    Who doesn’t love them, right? True enough, but unlike most people who like to feel acknowledged and appreciated for their efforts, overachievers are bent on collecting ‘awards’, be it university degrees, spelling bee prizes or unusual destinations.

    While loving awares isn’t bad, it’s even better if you’re driven by internal motivation instead of external ones which could be quite uncontrolable or unstable: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It).

    9. They Don’t Understand the Concept of Work Hours

    Don’t get surprised if you receive a work-related email anywhere between 8 p.m. and midnight. It’s something overachievers usually do and you weren’t the only one. At least 20 more emails have been sent during these hours to other people. The concepts of over-achieving and working overtime usually go hand in hand.

    The downside of this is an imbalnced life, which may need to problems in other aspects of life including health and relationships. A better way is to Achieve a Realistic Work Life Balance.

    10. They Rest

    Overachievers might often be labeled as “workaholics”, because they often ignore bodily signs of hunger, fatigue and even a full bladder, hoping to finish just one last little part. This doesn’t mean that overachievers don’t know how to disconnect and relax.

    True that they tend to work in the highest gear, but they also have enough sense to give themselves time to rest and recharge. Of course, they do it in their own overachieving way, preferring climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or hiking through the Amazon jungle to lazing on the beach.

    Advertising

    11. Overachievers Continuously Educate Themselves

    A great quality that most overachievers have is the hunger for knowledge. They surround themselves with bright people. They know how to listen, and most importantly, they get tons of mentoring.

    Despite the fact that overachievers want to excel at everything they set their minds on, they are humble enough to admit that to get on top of their game, they need help. And they are willing to pay someone to push, coach and guide them.

    You too can learn How to Create a Habit of Continuous Learning for a Better You.

    More Tips to Help You Achieve Success

    Featured photo credit: Nghia Le via unsplash.com

    Read Next