Lots of people have trouble with time management and getting everything done during the day. Email is one of the biggest productivity assistants in our work days. However, it can also be one of the biggest wastes of time.
Inbox Detox starts off with a valuable and insightful quiz that helps you determine how you deal with email. Often, we know we are ineffective, but we don’t know where we are lacking.
Once you know what you need to address, you move into the 12 steps of Email Detoxification. I’m warning you, the process isn’t easy, but its worth it. I won’t give all the steps away, but they take you from some very basic planning to taking action and making an impact on your daily work schedule.
I think one of the really important points the book brings up is your company’s culture. Do you as the boss send email late at night and expect people to know about it early in the morning? Do people email you with something that needs to be done immediately? Evaluating how you and your company use email is one of the most important things you can do to make it a useful tool.
Some important points to remember and think about:
-There is a cost to constant connections. You are being paid to be at work. If you’re always communicating with others you rarely have time to work on development, research or brain storming.
-Every time you stop what you are doing to do something else, your productivity is decreased.
-You inbox isn’t meant to hold emails for a long time. Its your virtual MAILBOX. You go and retrieve, sort and process your mail at least a few times a week, so do the same with your email.
-Most people expect a return email within 24 hours. If you can’t meet that guideline let people know.
-Sorting emails and handling them are two different tasks. Its okay to sort an email that still needs attention into a folder.
-Create folders-I like having one for immediate action items, action items not needing immediate attention, pending items (waiting on other people to reply etc)
-Just like putting away things in your home (if it takes 30 seconds or less to put it away, do it right away), if an email takes two minutes or less to handle, do it right away. This gets the clutter out of your inbox immediately and gives you a sense of accomplishment.
Some tips to continue your success:
-Pick up the phone when possible and resolve the issue right away.
-Don’t feel you have to respond to every email. Every email you send should ADD something to the conversation.
-Everyone is short on time. Don’t make emails complicated. Put one subject only in an email and make it easy to read.
-Make the subject clear and if possible, make it the whole message. (For example, “I am going to lunch now, be back at one.”)
-Create email rules that help you sort and prioritize email. For example, you could set up a rule that all emails from Bonnie Dewkett are placed into one folder.
-Clean out your sent and deleted folders frequently to save digital space.
-Print only what you NEED.
-Use proper grammar when sending emails.
-Remember the recipient cannot hear your tone. Something you think its funny, may be seen as an insult.
-Be careful who you CC and BCC.
Changing any habit is hard and just like getting rid of physical clutter in your home, digital and email clutter can be hard to part with. However, doing so will increase your productivity, make you happier, and allow you the freedom to move forward.
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