If you are like most managers, you likely spend hours of your day checking and answering emails. Supervisors get inundated with emails more than any other employees as they are usually copied on all communication having to do with the department.
Leadership Thoughts states that “on workdays, 53 percent of business users check email six or more times a day, while 34 percent of users check email constantly throughout the day.
On average, business users spend 49 minutes per day managing email accounts.” Most leaders complain that sorting through emails takes away valuable time that can be used on other tasks. However, they simply don’t know how to get around the system, which is why we want to help.
By following these two tips you can save much needed time in your working day. In the days of snail mail, most bosses would have assistants who would open all their letters and sort them before presenting them to the managers.
However, a much smaller percentage of today’s supervisors implement this when it comes to their emails. Since almost nothing of much importance comes in the post office anymore, solicit an administrative assistant to sort through your email inbox.
This individual can get rid of any junk or spam emails, and can read through the left overs to see what you actually need to read, and what can be filed away. If you can’t afford to hire an assistant, or simply don’t want to give anyone else access to your online communication, you can still save time by being organised.
Just like a messy desk will hinder your productivity, so will an unorganised inbox prevent you from being efficient.
Think of your inbox as a virtual file cabinet which should be set up correctly and regularly maintained to be effective. First, set up folders with general titles, such as: “HR,” “Clients,” “Employees,” “Write Ups,” etc. Then, keep narrowing down the topics by creating subfolders for specific employees, projects, etc.
Create filters in your email, directing emails from specific people or about specific topics to be automatically placed in a folder. Instruct your employees to title emails with project titles, so that email will be sorted accordingly.
Then, you can check emails from certain people or about topics on an as needed basis, versus checking every single email as it comes in. Don’t be a slave to your email by not allowing it to overwhelm you. Set up specific times throughout the day to check email, rather than reading every email as it comes in.
These tips should help you carve out time from needless email communication to focus on other tasks.
Head of Training and Development
Originally published: 1 June, 2015
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