Think about the impact of being the master of your own time and energy with the differences of control and competence on how you get tasks done in your daily business life. What positive changes could email bring if it were a proactive tool that you had a sense of mastery on, using it for good rather than always having to check the emails or respond to email requests? I wonder if we can reorient our attitude and response to emails.
Time Blocking & Email Management
In the book, Donna talks about blocking 4 (four) 2-hour time blocks. The first 2 hours of the day dedicated to high intensity and high impact activities. She suggests a glance at email. I suggest that email can wait for the first 2 hours – it’s a strategy I nearly always follow. I do glance at it if anything comes up that reorients my day or I need to re-work some obligations but only get to them on my time frames.
My emails are managed twice a day. I have blocks for both instances on my diary which usually is late in the morning and late in the afternoon although this sometimes varies based on my workflow. Shifting to the model of allocating blocked time for email is a game-changer because you know that emails will be read but on your own terms. Many of my clients have been practising this model and say that they will never go back to their old approach of responsive checking every half hour.
10 Tips and Tricks for Managing your Emails
1. Categorise your emails
E-mails can be overwhelming when it’s all in one place waiting to be read. To manage these quickly and efficiently, categorise your email feed and book in the block of time you’re going to work on it in your diary. Use lists, flags, highlights, or color code your emails to find them easily.
2. Share your email traffic
Think about how you can share the email traffic in your business between you, your clients and your team. Not all emails need to go through you. With good email habits and trust, there are some that are best assigned to other team members. For example, if emails are coming from your website, get them to go to admin.
3. Have an email signature that states your days and time of work
Having your days and time of work in your email signature will gently manage people’s expectations on when they can email or expect replies from you. You may even have a statement that says, “I will reply to your email within 24-48 hours” or whatever your practice is on that.
4. Out of office reply
One email strategy I’m still thinking of implementing is having an out of office reply when you are on leave that says something along the lines of “I am on leave. I am in a renewal phase and when I get back ALL my emails will be deleted. If you’re needing my attention about something please email again when I get back on this date (insert date).” Your consideration will be something that will manage your return to work smoothly knowing that you don’t have a hundred emails to attend to.
5. Have a filing system for your emails
Set up a filing system on the left-hand side of your email inbox to push email and easily find them later. It can be simple with 3 or 4 general files/folders or you can also be more specific regarding different parts of your business such as accounting, admin, sales, etc.
6. Set up email rules
Set up email rules to allocate emails to go to certain files or folders for a particular project or person. Lock in a time in your diary to look at those emails too.
7. Unsubscribing to emails.
Have a habit of unsubscribing to unread and unwanted emails in the course of a month. Set up rules for those emails if needed.
8. Turn off notifications for all platforms.
Turning notifications of rids you of unwanted distractions throughout the day. I have done this personally and it has helped me so much in managing my time better.
9. Set up your email to come in at a certain time
If you have allocated a block of time you can set up your email to come in on those certain times.
10. Reduce email traffic
Think about how you could reduce email traffic within your business with these alternatives:
a) Asana – amazing for task management or in house and external communication with team members or suppliers.
b) Slack – a really good alternative to emails where channels, internal and project-based groups can be set up for communication amongst team members. It makes seeing threads of conversations, attached photos, videos and audios more easily.
I would like to leave you with 2 things to think about after reading this:
- How could blocking time for checking email support your productivity?
- What actions can you take to manage your email differently and get more proactive in managing your email instead of being reactive?