How To Get Lots Less E-Mails!
According to a new study, published by the DailyMail, the average office employee spends 2.5 hours each day writing emails. The poll found that more than a quarter of employees’ time is wasted sending, receiving, or sorting out emails instead of doing their jobs. This translates to 81 working days each year spent on emails!! I don’t know about you, but there are MANY more things I’d rather spend my 81 days doing! How can we get control of these emails? Our first instinct is to ask how we can answer all of the emails faster; however, what we should be asking is “how can I get fewer emails in the first place?” Follow these tips and you can plan a nice vacation with those 81 days!
1) Send Fewer Emails – This simple step will definitely reduce your inbox drastically. My girlfriend Sherry’s company has grown to about 1,200 employees at present, spread throughout the country, and she and her coworkers communicate with each other frequently. Her company has Microsoft Lync, which is an instant messaging program that allows you to IM coworkers, conduct online meetings/webinars, and share your screen with coworkers in another office. Instead of emailing a coworker, send them an Instant Message. This is faster, more efficient, and saves your company’s server space.
2) Unsubscribe from things you don’t want or need – If you haven’t worn that knit hat from Aunt Gertrude since she gave it to you two Christmases ago, you are probably not going to wear it. Same with email; if you haven’t opened that weekly promotional newsletter or e-catalog from your favorite store in over 6 months, realize that it’s just taking up space and your time. Find the “unsubscribe” button at the bottom of the email and do some electronic housecleaning.
3) Don’t Answer (Most) Emails Right Away – You are not a firefighter, so you don’t have to jump to answer each email that strikes your inbox, as if it’s on fire. Depending upon your company policies and type of work, most things are not fire drills and can wait; if it is urgent or a very important client, try to pick up the phone and speak with them directly. That way, they can get all of their questions answered in one conversation versus numerous back-and-forth emails.
4) Know Which Emails to Ignore – Don’t answer certain emails that appear to be spam, mass-blasted requests for something from someone you barely know, or another one of those “work from home and make millions” scams. You are not obligated to offer support to every single person who has your email address. Delete it with no guilt.
5) Respond with Declarations, Not Questions – If you end an email with: “What time do you think we should have dinner?” or “Where should we meet?” you are generating more emails with more questions, which will require more responses from you. In order to sound tactful (not bossy), try ending your emails with statements such as: “Let’s meet for dinner at 6pm at the mall food court and we’ll pick a restaurant then. If this does not work for you, please let me know, otherwise I will see you there!”
People will be grateful for your brevity!
6) Be the Change You Would Like to See – If you make a habit of emailing friends, co-workers and others asking advice on things you could Google yourself, constantly forwarding on silly jokes, then others will likely do the same to you. If you write long, rambling emails, those are what you will receive from others. However, if you are respectful, concise, and articulate, you will receive the same from others.