A few years ago, the average corporate email user received between 60 – 70 messages per day. This year, most of my clients are reporting receiving between 100 – 150 emails each day. It is reasonable to expect that this trend will continue to grow.
Below I offer suggestions on how to reduce your volume of incoming email messages. My clients are used to hearing me say,
“You are not a victim of your inbox – you can exercise control over what you receive.”
Try some of the tips and let me know how they work.
Clarify to Co-workers When to Email You (and when NOT to)
In the absence of information, human nature is to take the safest route. It is easier to copy your boss than risk not keeping him/her informed. Talk to your boss and your direct reports. Clarify when a cc: is the best action versus when to save information for a future one-on-one meeting. Most of the time, a daily or weekly status report that summarizes recent decisions and actions can replace tens or sometimes hundreds of email messages sent and received.
Create a “Disposable” Email Account
There are many providers (Google, Yahoo, etc.) that will allow you to create a free email account. Use this account for web transactions and purchases. If the address starts to receive too much spam, disable it and create a new one.
Turn Off Incoming Email Alerts
By default, most email programs will alert you whenever you receive a new message. Like Pavlov’s dog, these visual and auditory notifications can prompt us to immediately respond. You need to be appropriately responsive to incoming mail, not necessarily instantly responsive. Being instantly responsive discourages people from contacting you through any other mechanism, and encourages more and more email.
Avoid “Read Receipts”
Each time you attach a read or delivery receipt to an email, you do two things: annoy the recipient, and generate more email for yourself. However, I understand that there are certain instances when receipts are necessary – just use them very judiciously.
Are you tired of letting email run (ruin?) your day?
Read my eBook Conquer Your Email Today…because there is no tomorrow.
Melissa Gratias (pronounced “Gracious”) used to think that productivity was a result of working long hours. And, she worked a lot of hours. Then, she learned that productivity is a skill set, not a personality trait. Now, Melissa is a productivity expert who coaches and trains other businesspeople to be more focused, balanced, and effective. She is a prolific writer and speaker who travels the world helping people change how they work and improve how they live. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 912-417-2505. Sign up to receive her productivity tips via email.