You’ve already labeled and filtered and your personal email is looking good. Unfortunately, these hacks won’t do anything to reduce the number of incoming emails you have to deal with. To make that happen requires setting some ground rules and sticking to them.
Here are some ideas to get you started!
- Use Chat Programs – How many of your colleagues send email after email each with a single question, or a one-word reply? Email isn’t supposed to be conversational. That’s what chat programs are for! Facebook Messenger or Skype allow you to hold a conversation without cluttering up your inbox.
- Think Before You Respond – Enact the three-email rule. After three emails, just pick up the phone. This encourages your colleague to get to the point, quickly. Eventually they’ll understand that calling will get the quickest response. Limit your replies and pick up the phone!
- Schedule Email into Your Day – Don’t check your email all day between tasks. Set time aside in the beginning of your day and set a time limit. Let colleagues know you are only available via email at certain fixed times of the day or week. Once you’ve set parameters, use an auto responder to reply during off times.
- Reply to Emails at the End of Your Workday – Read emails only in the morning and then reply during the last hour of your day. Any urgent requests can be handled by phone or in person. This can cut down on email tag and people will wait to respond until the next day when you’ll see it in your morning email reading…rinse and repeat! P.S. It also gives you time to think before you hit send…
- Use Other Forms of Communication – People are more likely to use other forms of communication if they know they’ll have a better chance of getting a response. Include your LinkedIn and Facebook addresses in your email signature, or use widgets. Offer your phone number for a faster reply and let colleagues know the best way to get in touch.
Email has changed the speed at which we communicate and do business, but sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming. Set up boundaries and rules to remain productive while still being reachable when needed. Whatever rules to do set up, let your colleagues know and stick to them.