Most of us don’t just rely on email we are shackled to it.
For all of the benefits of instant, cheap, portable, electronic communication wouldn’t it be good to spend a little less time responding, filing and deleting the endless stream of messages?
Inspired by a variety of sources, here are a 10 techniques that might help:
1. Open a new email account and use it just to send to the key people you deal with; they will reply to that address so you’ll have a single location for business critical correspondence. Check your original address once a day only.
2. Add a line to your signature saying that you only check email before 9 am and after 4pm and for anything urgent please call.
3. Update your account settings to send unwanted email to junk, one user did this for every email he was cc’d into. There’s a good free online course by Microsoft here.
4. If you are very brave, turn on your ‘out of office’ permanently with the following message “Due to the volume of email I receive, I no longer personally review every message. If you do not receive a reply within 72 hours, please assume that I have had to focus on other professional or personal priorities at this time. Thank you in advance for your understanding.”
5. Politely reply to messages that are not business critical explaining that the sender’s message was not relevant to you.
6. In the subject bar of all emails you send add either PLEASE REPLY or NO REPLY NECESSARY, it might catch on.
7. Reduce the flow by publishing answers to frequent questions on a blog.
8. Use instant messages for short answers; switch to phone if a conversation lasts more than three minutes.
9. Use a feed reader instead of email to track relevant content – this gives you more control over what you receive and when.
10. Send less and never subscribe. Research suggests that incoming mail rises and falls in relation to outgoing mail, the exception being subscribed messages that inevitably rise over time as the address is shared.