7 Ways to Conquer the Email Battle
As long as we are using email for work, we will fight to master it or be mastered by it. Talking to leaders about their fight with email has prompted me to think about my own email warfare. There are some recurring practices I have used and helped others with to wrestle down the email monster.
Here are some ideas you may want to experiment with:
- Schedule an email attack. You may have hundreds or thousands of email in your inbox. You have a sinking feeling in your stomach that you will never win over email. Some people “select all” and “delete” and start over but in time the inbox will be bulging again. These ideas may help you implement some new practices so you can master email. Try taking 2-3 hours and do these following steps.
- Unsubscribe. Set the email to organize them by “From”. Choose the emails you want to unsubscribe from and then unsubscribe. Delete the set of emails from that sender. Consider opening another email for receiving information, blogs and promotions so they don’t go to your main email.
- Schedule email times. Being on call with email is a major distraction to your concentration and productivity. Some of us are addicted to email and this step will be hard. If you have control of your schedule this step could really help you. I have experimented with only doing email in the afternoon. The mornings are for strategic projects. Turning off the notification will also keep you from being in response mode.
- Email to Evernote. Storing emails in your inbox will not help your strategy to win the email war. For important emails, forward them to your Evernote email with a file and tag and you are set. The search feature in Evernote is amazing and you can find anything very quickly.
- Send less email. There is a direct correlation between emails you send and emails you receive. One idea is to not email a coworker but rather put that topic on a list to discuss during the regular meetings you have. It definitely will slow the pace of life down and reduce stress when you don’t have to immediately respond to everyone’s email.
- Send short and bottom-line emails. More and more, people are skimming emails and don’t tolerate long and wordy emails. Write short emails and give the bottom-line in the subject line and first thing in the email. This will cut down on confusion and the need to have multiple emails.
- No emotions. Negative emails over email is a recipe for conflict. Wait a day to respond to an emotionally charged email you receive. Write a reasoned response to help you collect your thoughts and pick up the phone or meet with the person. As you know, email is a terrible way to communicate. Go old school and communicate personally not digitally.