We all know how long it can take to send one simple email. Sometimes we read and rewrite when we don’t necessarily need to. They also cause a lot of distractions when we are trying to complete tasks at hand.
Meanwhile, all that time could be spent elsewhere doing more important things for our business. So, here are our top 5 tips on how to reduce the time you spend on your emails; effectively reducing your stress levels and creating extra productive hours each day.
A very good trick is to block all those spam mails; it sounds basic, but there is a filter tool in your inbox that should allow you to specifically block, delete or send certain emails to your junk folder. It will take you a couple of minutes to do this, but once it is done, you won’t have the hassle of fishing through your emails to find the ones that are of importance.
Turn off your social media email notifications; it takes minutes to fill up your inbox with notifications. Leave your social media messages on their site, when you log into Facebook, Twitter or Youtube you can respond to or view them then.
You can also filter your emails according to whether they have been specifically sent to you, cc’d or those you haven’t read into a specific folder to browse through when you have time. This can be done via the filter options in your email. Another really valuable tip is to star or mark specific emails as ‘high importance’ then when you have time during or at the end of your day you can go through your list.
A top filter tip is to use Unroll.me, an online app designed to list all your subscriptions, which provides you with easy access to unsubscribe to the ones you are no longer interested in. This means fewer unwanted newsletters in your inbox.
The less time you spend writing your emails the better, so try to be succinct and straight to the point. Don't waste time adding in unnecessary information. Try sticking to 5-6 sentences maximum in each email (unless the email requires a vast amount of information). E.g. Question “Hi Jenny, what is the schedule for today’s meeting?” your response “Here is the entire itinerary for today’s meeting, please find attached” Answer what is being asked, plus provide all other important information in your first response email; added information may already be available elsewhere but it will save the back and forth if you reattach it.
For meetings, you can use Doodle, an online app that allows you to set up meetings with varied times or dates that each person will be able to choose from. This erases the back and forth emails of when the perfect meeting time or day is.
Another cool tip is to use an instant messaging app to reduce the amount of emails going to your inbox, such as Skype, Whatsapp or BBM Messenger. Here at Smarta we use Skype to ask each other quick messages around the office. Communicating this way is much faster and keeps your inbox free.
We recommending using Asana to assign tasks and projects to each member of your staff, they will be able to view tasks assigned to them and ‘click done’ once they have completed it. You will have the option of organising each team into groups, e.g marketing, editorial, sales etc.
It can become very addictive checking your inbox every 10-20mins hoping to receive something. This will drive you bonkers!
Of course it is important to check your mail, especially if you are out of the office. But try to cut it down to a minimum, sometimes you go to check and end up spending half an hour going through unnecessary emails. It’s very fast and easy to turn off the notifications on your phone or other mobile devices to avoid distractions and get back to them when you have the time to read and respond.
Time is everything, so be wise with yours.
Responding to generic emails can be a pain. So create custom messages ready to paste and send. This cuts down your time by a huge amount.
For instance, if you have an event coming up you may constantly receive emails asking questions about event details. Create an email with answers simply for this purpose, so you do not have to type up a response every time you are asked. This email can also include further information that you might want to share and frequently asked questions.
When you have finished looking through your inbox and filtered/starred the ones you need to read; delete the rest. Keep your inbox as clean as possible for ease of navigation.
There are times when you will receive emails from customers or supporters who have a criticism to make or a point to get across; ignore these emails until you have time to respond. Choose an allotted time during the week, for about 30mins to an hour and use this time to communicate with your supporters. Customers and supporters are very valuable to your business, so always allow time to respond to their questions or points, just amke sure it's not totally interrupting your workflow.
Using this guide will effectively cut down any time wasted on emails and make your day that much more productive. As you go along you will pick up even more tips to decrease time spent and utilise your free hours. Have you got any tips to share with our readers? Why not post them in the comments below!