The email inbox is still the biggest problem for lots of people I work with. The best advice I’ve seen recently about managing your inbox is don’t send email. Really?? How does that work? You simply can’t live without email!
How often do you send an email to say “thanks” for a message sent to you? Is that message really necessary? How often do you receive an email message that simply says “thanks” or “OK”
Your email message generates emails back.
Think carefully about the next email you send. Ask yourself these questions:
- Why are you sending this information by email?
- Is it really necessary?
- How will that email benefit you and the receiver?
- What does it add to the information the other person needs
- Is this the best way to communicate your message? Or is there another way to get your message through to someone else?
Don’t do long email threads. If the email conversation is generating a worthwhile discussion, phone the person, go to their desk/office and talk to them or arrange to go out for a coffee or lunch. If more than one person is involved, arrange a meeting – even if only for a few minutes.
If you need to keep a record of the phone or in person discussion, write a quick note when you get back to my desk and file it. If you need to remember something important from that discussion – say the time and place for another meeting, make a note of it – in a notebook or in your smartphone.
Now you’re not going to stop the emails altogether. And I don’t suggest you do. Email is a very effective way of communicating with other people. But use it sensibly.
Organise the emails you go get into folders so emails like newsletters, social media alerts and such don’t actually reach your inbox. Google has started to do this very effectively with Gmail. Check out this video.
If you don’t use Gmail, it’s worth taking a few minutes to follow the Google’s advice and set up your own folders in the email package you use.
Remember your email inbox is not a filing cabinet
You can contact me for more help or you can read about more hints and tips to improve your business in my free eBook; and even more if you download the eWorkbook that gives you a full set of instructions on how to set up a filing system for your business, including filing emails.
Judy Owen has been working with businesses of all sizes and complexities for more than 20 years to improve and streamline the access to their business information. She and her team can show you how to reduce risk, improve productivity and increase profits with good business systems and processes in your business.