email efficiency

Easy Ways to Be More Productive

All we really have in this life is time and energy. Wouldn’t it be great to spend less of both on email? Yes! Here’s to email efficiency.

Email is a wonderful technology, but it can be a huge time-eater when we don’t manage it properly. Here are 10 steps to increase your productivity by reducing the focus on your email at work.

1 Know thy software

Every email software or web-based email system has different features. Watch a video or read about your system so you know what it can do for you.

2 Stay focused

Focus on your priorities. Emails are someone else’s agenda. Turn off your email notifications to avoid distractions. Also, don’t start your day with email, or only read the one message with the reply you need to get started with your work.

If your boss expects an immediate reply to an email, often email programs allow you to set up people as VIPs or to receive notifications from specific addresses.

3 Schedule email

Set specific time(s) to answer emails. You can even set an auto-reply saying when you usually monitor emails.

4 Auto reply

Set auto-reply when you are out of the office or when your email response times will be slower. I do this when I am training or out of town on business. You’ll avoid annoyed customers and having people email you again to ask why you’re not replying.

If your out-of-office function won’t let you set an end date, place a reminder in your calendar to turn it off. It doesn’t look good when you receive an auto-reply that no longer applies.

5 Remember karma

The more emails you send, the more you are likely to receive. Only send emails as necessary.

6 Touch once

When you open an email, take action: delete, respond, take action, schedule time in your calendar to take an action, or export as a PDF for your files for your records. I’m moving away from folders within my email because they get overwhelming as well. I follow this date format when saving emails YYYY-MM-DD, YYYY-MM, or YYYY-YYYY.

7 Unsubscribe yourself

Limit yourself to three to five email newsletter subscriptions, usually connected to whatever projects you’re working on. Often people don’t want to take the time to unsubscribe, so they just keep hitting delete. Go for the unsubscribe now. It’ll save you time.

8 Be brief.

64% of decision-makers read their email on mobile device. Keep the body of your emails to about five lines. More than that may mean you need a conversation or to attach a file.

9 Include subject

Nearly one-third of email recipients open email based on subject line alone. When the email chain moves from talking about the annual report to performance reviews, change the subject line when you change the subject.

10 Sign it

Include an email signature with your name, title, and contact information. I don’t care if you both work for the same company, so they can find you in the staff directory. Make it easy for them, so they can get back to you sooner.

11 Proof it

Take a moment to proofread your message to make you are clear. Otherwise, the confusion may eat up more of your time.

12 Phish not

Sidestep more problems by avoiding phishing email. Phishing means an email that pretends to be from someone else to persuade you to share your personal information. The email may look good, but you need to know how to identify phishing emails. See this information from the Bankers Association of Canada 

What step are you taking this week to reduce the time you spend on emails?

1 Comment

  1. Gena Fryar on September 19, 2016 at 2:00 am

    UNSUBSCRIBE, I try and do this as much as possible.

    Here’s another one, when you’ve dealt with an email, archive it. This way you inbox appears completely empty and you are able to see what work still needs to be done. I’ve been doing this for a few months and it has really helped me!

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