Stop being overwhelmed by email
by Catherine Welborn, editor
Problem: Since your promotion, you’ve been inundated with emails daily. It’s hard to keep up with them all, and you’ve had a couple slip through the cracks already. You don’t want to hurt relationships or miss opportunities, but you’re not sure how to stay on top of the flood of email.
Solution: Follow these tips to gain control over your email inbox:
- Use the tools provided. Take advantage of the tools and features of your email program. All the major programs allow you to set up subfolders for the categories you need, like “Johnson Project,” “To Read” or “Receipts.” Many email programs, such as Outlook, allow you to set rules that will automatically sort your mail. For example, you can create a rule so that whenever you receive e-letters, they flow directly into your “To Read” folder.
- Take action. Once you read an email, remove it from your inbox. If the email does not require a response, either delete it or file it in the appropriate folder. If it requires a reply, send one, and then delete or archive the original. If the email is better suited to someone else, forward it and delete. If it will require action at a later date, put the information on your calendar. Tip: In Outlook you can easily move an email to your calendar, automatically creating an appointment with the text of the message in it.
- Be brief. When sending emails, aim to write no more than three sentences. Occasionally you will write emails that require more depth, but usually three sentences is enough. Committing to this rule can save you a great deal of time.
- Step away from the inbox. If you are constantly checking your email, you are allowing it to take over your day. Designate times during the workday to check and respond to email. Keep it closed at other times, and focus on your other responsibilities. Of course, alert your team to your email schedule, so they know to call or see you in person if they need an immediate response.
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