Mashable reports that 144.8 billion emails are sent each day. On bad days, it can feel like most of those are being sent to you, from the boss, with a red flag on top.
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In order to manage email better, and get your time back, you need to understand exactly why it’s eating so much of your day.
1. There’s too much of it.
The Radicati Group estimates that employees send, on average, 37 work-related emails a day and receive 78. Even if you spend only a minute per email, that’s still nearly two hours of your day spent on correspondence.
Answer: Do your part by asking yourself, “Is this email really necessary?” before you hit “send.” If a conversation goes back and forth more than once, or picks up new followers, consider having a brief meeting instead.
2. We use it for the wrong things.
Need to speak with someone right away? Email is not your best bet. For one thing, it trains people to check their email more frequently — the opposite of what productivity experts advise.
Answer: If you’re the boss, set a good example by taking emergencies out of email correspondence. If you’re an employee, speak to your manager about changing to a system where you check email only a few times a day. If you can frame it as a productivity enhancer — which it is — you should be a lot more successful at convincing the boss.
“You ever get those emails from someone only to find that what you’re reading sounds like it should be contained in a personal diary of the person who sent it?” asks Jacob Morgan at Forbes. “Oftentimes employees can send out verbose emails with scattered ideas that colleagues are expected to read just to find that one piece of relevant information that they need.”
Answer: Again, be the change you’d like to see in your inbox. Don’t send people treasure hunts instead of messages. And if you get one of these verbose emails, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification, either in email or in person.
Just make sure you’ve waited until your annoyance burns off first.
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