As a person who earns a living thanks to the internet, I’ll be the first to admit that email is a necessity. I’ll also be the first to admit that email can be a massive time waster, especially now that smart phones give us the ability to receive and send messages anytime, anywhere. Not too long ago, managing my personal and business email accounts would suck up large chunks of my personal time—until I started practicing email time management.
Save Time and Get More Accomplished with Email Time Management
It’s almost hard for me to imagine now, but I used to check my email frequently. If I was working at my desk, I’d leave my inbox open so I could respond to messages as soon as I received them. I spent more time dealing with email than dealing with my task at hand, and you know what that means—I never finished projects according to schedule and I found myself working longer and longer.
4 Easy Email Time Management Tips
These days, I follow a few email time management rules that I set for myself. I now spend less time dealing with email and more time working on my online businesses and enjoying my life.
1. Schedule uninterrupted time to deal with email. This one was tough for me to implement at first, but scheduling uninterrupted time to deal with email and only email is an incredible time saver. Why? If you’re going to read and respond to messages, give it your full concentration—don’t do it while you’re also answering phone calls, updating your blog or paying bills. You’ll save a lot of time because you’re able to concentrate on what you’re doing.
2. Reduce the amount of time you spend dealing with email. Speaking of saving time with your email … set limits for how often you check your email. My goal is once per day, but that may not be often enough for some people. It depends on the nature of your job. Checking email once in the morning and once in the afternoon might be a good arrangement for some people. Give yourself a few days of trial and error to figure out what email time management system works for you—and stick to it!
3. Use the 4 D’s of email time management.
- Delete it. If an email is useless information or something that you could read elsewhere, get rid of it now before it clutters up your inbox any longer.
- Do it. If someone asks you a simple question that you can deal with right away, do it now and move on.
- Delegate it. If it’s impractical for you to delete the email but it’s not something that you can deal with immediately, see if you can delegate the work to someone else.
- Defer it. If an email can’t be deleted or dealt with immediately but you’re the only person who can do what needs to be done … defer it by scheduling the task into your calendar.
4. Unsubscribe to any email lists that lack real value. It’s tempting to sign up for different email lists, but ask yourself if you really need to receive all of those newsletters and online coupon codes and jokes-of-the-day. If you delete the messages more often than you deal with them, unsubscribe from the list to save yourself time.
I’m a big fan of time management because far too many people claim that they’re “too busy” to do things. If something is important to you, though, you can fit it into your schedule. Email time management is one easy and effective way to “add hours to your day.” Give it a shot—I think you’ll like the results.
Take Action. Get Results.