Simple, yet powerful, tips for email efficiency

February 28, 2012 at 2:19 pm Leave a comment

You’ve probably read a lot of suggestions on how to be more efficient with email. I’ve heard many professionals, including myself, say they could spend more than an hour each morning answering questions from colleagues and customers, reading industry breaking news, and deleting unwanted messages.

Some organizations consider email to be such a time waster that they are proposing ending its use. According to Harvard Business Review, Volkswagen in Germany and Atos, a French IT company, are placing restrictions on certain email communications or even considering ending the use of the technology in the next few years.

Those are extreme solutions. The HBR article tells us how busy professionals from companies like Korn/Ferry International and OpenBook Learning manage email. Here are tips to make email a powerful tool, rather than a hindrance to getting things done.

• Limit using the “copy all” option. Some experts say that if someone doesn’t have an action item outlined in the message, that colleague shouldn’t be copied. That eliminates each person on a team receiving long strings of emails outlining discussions that don’t apply to them.

• Clean your inbox. Don’t allow 3,000 messages to build up. Set aside time each day to respond to emails (even if it’s just a message saying you’ll respond tomorrow), file messages in folders, and delete those that don’t add value.

• Unsubscribe. If you haven’t opened an email from an organization for a month, unsubscribe from the service. You’ll save yourself the time of deleting the messages, and you’ll do the sender a favor by eliminating an inactive name on the list.

• Take a break. It’s all right to not check email during the weekend or on a day off. Use your out-of-office reply option to let senders know when you’ll be checking email again.

Share your techniques for using email as a productivity booster, rather than a time waster.

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Entry filed under: Company Culture, HR Management, Management, Social media, Time management. Tags: , , , , , , .

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