In this article, I will present you some tips that I use, which simplified the way I interacted with emails. I share with you this article when the week-end is near, and planning seems important, but also the time thinking on how to be more productive (and have more time for family & friends).
Read it and if you find it useful, share it with you friends, colleagues and family. But … first, use the tips for your own mailbox!
So, I use Gmail (which is awesome when it comes to email – now they also have a tool to reach inbox zero – called INBOX) as an email service for all of my projects. The purpose of the article is to present you a useful method to increase productivity regarding emails.
Here are 5 tips, that I used and are working, which will surely increase your productivity:
1) WHEN you check your inbox?
If you are a morning person like I am, surely you will want to dedicate the first part of the day to the main goal. Robin Sharma suggests the 90/90 formula – for 90 days, work on the first 90 minutes of your day on your no.1 goal! You will have remarkable results. Why shouldn’t you check your email first thing in the morning? Because, most likely you will find new tasks that you should or emails to answer, which could wait at least 90 minutes. And don’t forget, email is a form of communication which means that a certain waiting period is set for the answer. For any urgency, you can be contacted by phone.
2) HOW OFTEN to check your inbox?
I recommend limiting the number to 2-3 times/day or adapt it according to your job requirements. You might be involved in a job that means that you need to check frequently your email, and in this case the number could be higher. Anyway, email is just a form of communication, and must be seen accordingly. Even if your job is checking emails, the content of each email requires an action or an answer. So reading further could be helpful.
3) HOW MUCH TIME is allocated to emails?
Plan from the beginning the time for checking your email, otherwise you might be late to your next meeting!
4) HOW MUCH TIME is allocated to a single email?
If an email requires more than 2 minutes, this means that it becomes another task in your long list of to-dos. Limit the length of your answer to no more than 10 phrases, keep it short and concise. Otherwise, guess where your email will end-up. Your right! In your recipient’s to-do list.
5) Use MULTIPLE INBOX
This is a very useful technique through which you can set multiple inbox on the same email address. More specific, you create different sections like: Action Required, Awaiting Response, Delegated or Read Later.
How this works? You receive an email. If you can answer in 2 minutes and 10 paragraphs, you should answer it. If it needs a broader answer (or new information that you need to collect in order to prepare your answer) you should move it to Awaiting Response and thus update your to-do list with finding the information required.
If it needs an action (like paying an invoice) move it in the Action required and update your to-do (you can automatically do this from your inbox if you use Todoist app and its extensions). Don’t forget that it’s a waste of time to open an email twice without properly moving to one of the section. For setting up your Multiple Inbox, you can find a great tutorial here.
At the end of the day, you should have zero emails in your inbox with clear actions to follow.