How do you deal with having the flood of emails in your inbox everyday? Not to mention the same mails that is also invading your blackberry?
Research tells us that the average office worker spends about 49 minutes every day managing their email whilst more senior staff can spend up to 4 hours a day processing their In Boxes. There is just so many emails coming in on a daily basis and employees and home entrepreneurs are plagued by "email stress".
First of all having an empty In Box may not be a sign of success. Until the day I leave this world, my In Box may still be unattended to. And that would be ok with me.
Having said that it is good to keep a clean In Box, it's like keeping a clean desk. The un-cluttering clears the mind for more creative work. A clean email box gives reduces your work place stress.
To manage the volume of mails, consider using the following tips:
Communicate Expectation - There is usually not an urgent need to respond to email - a 48 hour turnaround time is quite acceptable. And if you are on the road or travelling set up an auto responder that communicate that to your reader, they will understand if you are not able to respond within 48 hours.
Turn off e-mail alerts - check emails at regularly set times. Breaking your chain of thought every time an email comes in will disrupt your concentration and creativity. When you need to get some work done, turn off your emails. You can attend to the mails when you have completed your work. Multi-tasking kills productivity.
This way you are focus and not needing to tune in and out constantly, disrupting your thoughts and exhausting yourself in the process. This is the most inefficient use of your time and resources. How many times do you switch between what you are doing and check on emails? That much time and energy is wasted daily.
And if you are not comfortable with this rule then send out a broadcast and announce your new policy, that you will only check mails x times a day and thank your readers for their understanding and patience. This is not an excuse not to respond to mail but it helps to relief you of the need to drop everything you are working on just to respond immediately. This alone will increase your productivity and reduce your stress.
Get Organised - make use of filters and rules to help you keep your in box lean and clean.
Create rules and send spam straight to the trash without it even appearing in your inbox.
You can also create folders/labels and have mails automatically delivered into the respective folders so you can read or process these unimportant mails on the weekends. If you feel stress when you see many emails unattended to in your inbox, then clear out the clutter and create some space. Keep your in box nice and clean and empty your trash at the end of every day.
Processed emails once - as far as it is possible, process urgent emails when you read them and file others away to be followed up or delegated. Read and process or delete or file.
Unsubscribe from any list that you are no longer using. Or set up rules to send them to your folders for follow up. You can have "to check out" folders.
If you have too many email accounts - consolidate. Either forward all accounts to one main account or cancel off the extra accounts. All you need is one personal account and one business account. And you will want to keep these for separate mails.