Sometimes we let the tools we use, rule us. This is definitely the case with email. Due to its inexpensive nature and promptness, Email has taken on a life of its own. It’s always on and always available. Do you spend endless hours trying to weed through and prioritize your emails? Do you get up in the morning and find that you have over 100 emails in your Inbox? You’re not alone. This can cause a lot of anxiety. You must think, when did we lose control? And when did we decide productivity meant sending and receiving X amount of emails during the day?
Email is a necessary evil. We need it to communicate to clients, prospects, vendors, co-workers and friends. And you do not want to miss a deadline that got swallowed up by your distraction emails or an important note from a friend or family member that is time sensitive. At the end of the day, you need to be in charge of how you spend your time and sifting through emails is not a good use of your time. Think about where your energy should be spent and then use the tips below to be sure you prioritize correctly.
The following are 4 simple steps to take to ensure you rule your email, not the other way around:
- Practice “D-A-P”. If you can’t answer it right away—Delete it, Archive it, or Put it in a folder. Like anything in your house or car, everything has a place and all emails need to be addressed. The best thing to do is address is as soon as possible or it will only pile up faster.
- Practice the 3-C’s. Ensure your messages are Concise, Clear and Communicate only what’s needed. E-mail is not a letter and so whenever possible, keep it short and simple. The advantage of E-mail is the speed at which is gets to the receiver, so treat it almost like sending out a code.
- Use Filters. Filters block SPAM messages. Take advantage of filtering systems that are built into mail applications like Gmail, Apple Mail and Hotmail. This way you can eventually train your email providers to know what’s important to you.
- Opt out and unsubscribe. Did the latest promotional Email just come through for that magazine you once subscribed to? Even if you are quick enough to delete it instead of let it live in your inbox, even better is to take the extra minute to opt out of it in the bottom of the e-mail. This is often the case with conferences you once attended or stores you purchased from once for that random wedding gift online. This is just clutter to your mind! Take 1 second to rid yourself of it forever.