Let’s face it, unless you are in an emergency services field, it’s probably not critical for you to check your email every minute of the day. Chances are if you are living in your in-box, constantly responding to incoming messages, you are really not getting much vital work done.
An incoming email message presents that sense of urgency that the ADD brain craves to stay activated. It’s exciting when a new message pops up.
I think that ego also plays a part in our obsession with email. When someone sends us an email they want something from us. They want our advice, our expertise, our opinion. Each message is a possible stroke to our ego and it feels good to be needed.
But, if you want to start getting some real work done, try these tips to use your email more productively.
- Be proactive with email instead of reactive. You need to make a conscious decision about when to check and respond to email.
- Check your email a maximum of once an hour.
- Turn off your email message indicator. Click HERE to learn how to turn off Outlook’s email indicator.
- Train others to use the subject line to indicate if they need you to take action on something.
- Under promise and over deliver. Always set a deadline for when you will get back to someone or you may be likely to procrastinate. If you think that it will take you one day to get back to someone, tell them you will get back to them in two days to give yourself a buffer.
- If you are using Outlook, set up email from important people (like your boss) to be marked as a certain color when they come in. Click HERE to learn how.
- Move emails that don’t’ require action into a reference folder immediately.
- Minimize your email screen or click out of it completely at least once a day.
- Practice the art of brevity. If you require an action or response from someone put it in the subject line. Ask for what you need in the beginning of the message and try to limit your message to 3 – 4 bullet points explaining what you want.
Remember – your importance is not measured by the number of emails you receive, but the quality of work that you produce.