Manage Your Email Like a Boss

EmailKing-e1399318580645 Ever feel like your email inbox is taking over your life? Consuming all your time and preventing you from getting your real work done? You’re probably a lot smarter and more organized than this recruiter and that’s never happened to you. Prior to my recent email ban (more on that later) here’s how a typical morning transpired.

9:00am: Sit down at my desk, green tea in hand. Open my email. I typically receive upwards of 100 messages a day. First, systematically deleting all the junk, promotions and requests from Nigeria.

Next, move onto the stuff that requires minimal reply thought. It’s early still. Better check LinkedIn and accept requests to connect, check Twitter and my FB page for notifications. Now I’m totally sidetracked on the feeds. What’s Cara Delevingne wearing? Better click on the link to view the whole story.

10:00am: time to respond to emails that require a more thoughtful response.

Now it’s 11:00am and not a single item on my to-do list has been scratched off. The act of checking the off list items brings me great satisfaction and the unscathed list now looks more daunting. Feeling rushed and unproductive.

Surprise! Structuring my day in a way that is email centric is totally unproductive! Over the past few months I’ve completely changed my daily agenda.

I scan (notice I didn’t say check) my email on the way into the office for any urgent messages that require immediate attention. Don’t worry I’m not driving. Typically there are less than 5 and if I’m really honest with myself 4 can wait.

First thing I do is review my to-do list that was prepared the day before I left the office so I know exactly what needs to be tacked and in what order.

I complete the top two priorities first with no interruptions from the phone or email. Turning off the volume on the ringer and disabling the outlook notification sound does a world of good.

By noon I’ve completed at least 2 top priority tasks and I’m now ready to check my email. I’ll only allow myself to respond to the most critical and urgent messages. This usually takes less than 30 minutes. Back to the task list. I’ll check my email again at 5pm and clear out my inbox completely. I find that purging my inbox at the end of day goes faster since I’m motivated to wrap up the day.

You see, I discovered that I was using email to avoid the truly important tasks. The projects that would move me forward instead of treading water in a river of emails. Maybe you cannot believe that someone would actually work this way. Or maybe you can relate. All I know is that I will no longer allow email to dictate my day. Instagram, that’s a different story.


Photo Credit: Zebra Techies