If so, it’s time to organise your email system before it takes over your life!
Email is an extremely convenient mode of communication; perhaps too easy, as it seems to invite people to contact you for sometimes barely any reason at all. With all that email coming in needing attention, it can be hard to get anything else done. So how can you get a grip on your business emails before it gets its grip on you?
Gaining Control Of Email
Success in small business relies on discipline and good time management. Often, however, necessary tasks like checking, reading and responding to emails can start to overtake productive work time and decrease your productivity – and in turn, your profitability. That is why it’s important for you to be managing emails, rather than letting emails manage you. Here are some pointers from the experts:
- Schedule time for checking emails; this can be once, twice, or three times daily at times that fit into your schedule. Block out time and when the time is up, move on to other pressing matters.
- Do not use email for emergency contacts; inform clients and business associates that you are not available immediately via email, and that they should phone or contact you via instant message, etc, for pressing matters. This makes it possible for you to handle emails in chunks rather than constantly dealing with them throughout the day. Be careful who you give emergency contact information to, though, so that it is used for its intended purpose.
- Turn off automatic alerts – both audio and visual – so that you are not tempted to immediately respond every time a new message comes in. This breaks into your productive work time.
- Deal with emails during your ‘down time’; do not schedule your most creative and productive times of day for organising emails. Put email management into your schedule where it makes sense – those times of day when you need to slow down, or that do not take away from more complex activities.
- Use tools for organising emails; get to know the features of your email client and use them to prioritise emails. For instance, use the ‘rules’ or ‘labels’ function to automatically separate emails into folders according to priority levels, clients, or subjects.
- Respond to emails when read; many people will read all emails before responding, and then go back and start with the most important ones. But this only multiplies the time it takes to get through the lot. espond to emails as they are read, and you will not have to begin all over again sifting through them.
- Separate business and personal emails; do not give out business email addresses to friends and family that do not have a business reason to contact you.
Email is a very useful and important business tool, but if you don’t learn how to efficiently manage your emails they will begin to take over your life.
Of course, everyone’s situation is going to be different and it may take a little while to find what works best for you, but if you start putting some of these tips into practise you’ll soon get control over your email. If not, perhaps it’s time to consider getting an assistant to help you respond to emails.