Managing Your Emails
In our last issue we looked at managing your electronic files, and a lot of that approach is applicable to email as well. Even when setting and using spam filters, we can often feel like we’re drowning in emails. Consequently, we find ourselves in a strange place where we don’t have time to do the work because we’re too busy reading and answering emails.
We all know the sinking feeling of a full (or overfull) inbox – the mental clutter it can cause will make you much less productive, even when you’re not concentrating on it.
A good place to start is to make sure your inbox is never too full, and that emails are put in the best place to be dealt with at the right time. Following are a few of M.B. Secretarial Services’ tips to managing emails.
Make it another job
Instead of email interrupting your day all over the place when it comes in, devote a specific period in the day for it, and get as far through it as you can. If you do all your email in the allotted time, great! If not, you need to put aside more time. Consider changing your settings so you have to download email manually when you’re ready instead of being interrupted by email messages all day.
When managing your email is just another task on your To Do list, it means you know you’ll get to it at the right time instead of it nagging at you all day long.
In some roles though, you will have to check email on a regular basis, especially if your business uses email as its main communication tool.
Use your judgement based on your own circumstances.
Give email the time of day
The time at which you handle your email can make a big difference to how effectively you are doing it.
If you have several large projects in the day, answering emails for hours first thing in the morning may exhaust all your mental energy which would be better utilised on the projects. It might be more productive to get large, intensive projects out of the way and leave the comparatively easier job of email until later.
Experiment. See what works for you and stick to it.
Do you conduct your business by client? Billing period? Project? Stages of an activity? However, you store files on your system, think about setting up email folders the same way so you know exactly where they are.
The benefit of creating specific folders for handling email is that it makes it so much easier to search for past emails and you’re not losing valuable time searching your inbox.
Many email applications let you set up rules that store emails automatically in a specified folder as soon as they arrive. If you receive blog post feeds, personal emails, work emails, statements or bills, you can avoid ‘full inbox anxiety’ and know straight away where to find the emails you have to deal with.
So don’t let email control you. If you’re still feeling overwhelmed or not quite sure how to set up folders or rules then contact M.B. Secretarial Services and we’ll help you get organised.