10 top tips for email efficiency

How did we live without emails? Just 20 years ago, we were hardly aware of them and now we are inundated every day with a plethora of messages that have become so vital to our business. In fact, without emails it is safe to say that our businesses might well grind to a screeching halt.

The other side of the coin is that emails have become so insidious in our daily lives that we can waste too much time reading, sorting and responding to them. Time that is better spent in other areas of our business.

How often have you had hundreds of emails waiting for you in your inbox and all of a sudden, hours of productive time has simply slipped away – while you are not even half way through your inbox?

So what can we do to manage our emails more efficiently? Well, here are 10 top tips that will help you manage your inbox more effectively and free up your valuable time:

  1. Save contacts: Don’t just rely on the autocomplete feature when you are filling in the recipient on your email, as this information is sometimes lost. So save all of your contacts to your address book.
  2. Microsoft Outlook: Instead of using Outlook Express or Windows Live Mail, use Microsoft Outlook as this has more features and is easier to restore if there is an issue with your PC.
  3. Navigation panels: Set up navigation panels so that you can see your folders, lists of emails and the emails themselves, without having to open new windows all of the time.
  4. Delete: Read each subject line and delete all those that are auto alerts or those you consider as unnecessary. Don’t keep emails because you might act on them later (because you won’t).
  5. Keep it short: If you have to respond to emails or send them yourself, keep them short. Be concise, clear and straight forward.
  6. Turn off notifications: If you are notified every time you receive an email, this can be very distracting. So turn this function off and set time aside at the beginning and end of the day to read and respond to emails.
  7. Don’t open emails: Not unless you have the time to act and respond to the email. Otherwise you are wasting time and doing everything twice.
  8. Leave it at three: If you need more than 3 emails to get your point across, call them on the phone. You can fix the problem in a matter of minutes on the phone, instead of wasting time with more emails.
  9. Templates: If you find that you are writing the same emails over and over again, create a template (canned response) which will save you lots of time.
  10. Use filters: Instead of 100’s of emails in your inbox, you can direct incoming emails into different folders. This unclogs your inbox and allows you to address each folder in turn and tackle similar emails in one hit.

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