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How to manage email efficiently?
One of the cruelest wars we’re involved in nowadays is the „Big Email War„. The biggest victims of the combats with almost 200 billion mails sent daily sure are our time and productivity. Lately London magazines headlined about the „addiction to community“. They showed themselves worried about the trend that scholars too often prefer moving in virtual worlds rather than moving in knowledge spheres.
Coming up next: the top 14 several health tips for your digital life and for managing your emails in your studies and job.
Email Management Tips 1: Communication Media are Overrated
We don’t need an email for anything: complex topics are transmitted easier and faster through the phone or personally. Nobody should expect an answer on an email the same day.
Facebook, Twitter etc. are in fact nice platforms and sometimes useful, but they aren’t able to replace contacts with neck and body by those with pixels and bytes! Messenger services don’t fit into your primetime!
Email Management Tips 2: Your Inbox is a Working, No-Deposit Space!
The inbox is like your desk: it’s for the most important objects that are going to be put in hand next.
What can you do against the imbrutement of the inbox? Clear it out! The first step to receiving new emails: instantly delete spam and ad-mails and less important stuff like little notes from colleagues that you have read and won’t need anymore.
Email Management Tips 3: Just Reply to Very Important Emails Momentarily
Save for later: Newsletter and other stuff that could be interesting later, but aren’t important at the moment, should be automatically moved to folders like „read at opportunity“ by an email filter. This is your folder for efficiency lows.
The only exception to this rule: email you can answer in less than 3 minutes can quickly be finished and thereby make space in your inbox.
Email Management Tips 4: Delete Updates and Old Information
So many emails are just for information – FYI. We’re used to letting them linger in our inbox or other folders as a „reminder“. There they sprawl and reach undreamed-of proportions…
But honestly: Do you record personally delivered information with a recorder? Probably not. So dare the gap and delete read, no longer usable emails – now! Worst case scenario you can still get it out of the recycle bin.
Email Management Tips 5: Instant Rule
For all the emails that can be answered without much contemplation or gathering more information: Reply instantly and delete / archive them!
Also get used to sending a short confirmation email; one line is totally enough. Just add a small „mail received, thanks“ to the subject line, so the opposite side is in the know and is happy about the feedback.
Email Management Tips 6: Kissing Permitted. Kiss!
KISS is the abbreviation for „keep it simple and stupid„:
- try to reply to 60% of your emails with three short sentences.
- Focus on the main messages and elements.
- Try to write no more than 3 paragraphs or sentences, in which you put background information + requests / orders + thanks.
- Mark the essential words in bold.
- Use listings.
Always remember: the addressee also has his hands full. In contrast, friends could be happy when you invest some more time and share your thoughts. But back off on chain or circular emails!
Email Management Tips 7: Sort Your Email Folders by Processes and Categories
Get a „process folder“ for emails that you want to read later: „This week“, „Occasionally“, „Read“, „Dig deeper“…
Email Management Tips 8: Smart Labelling of Email Folders
Like I just stated, it’s very useful to label the folders in your inbox with instructions, what’s to be done with the email contained: „execute“, „dig deeper“ etc. That helps your brain to understand the current processes faster and will save some time.
Additionally number the folders to fool the alphabetical sortation: „1 to do this week“, „2 read“, … „8 later“. The important stuff will stay in the same sortation through this little trick.
Email Management Tips 9: Send Email-SMS
Use the logic of short messages for emails by just utilizing the subject line: „Lunch break @ Café XY, 12:30? – END“. The „END“ part shows the addressee that all the information is contained in the subject line.
You can also arrange a code system with frequent mail partners, e.g. following the AIR-logic:
- A is for action: „A: send me report XY – END“.
- I is for information: „I: Jour Fixe starts 10min later – END“.
- R is for reminder: „R: Remember my umbrella – END“.
These little notes will help you and your environment to classify emails faster and very efficiently.
Email Management Tips 10: Just Check Your Emails Thrice a Day!
Instead of instantly sending items, use the outbox of your mail client. Professional support alleviates this tremendously. Outlook Express / Mail (Mac) is provided on most computers, and other email clients (e.g. Pegasus, Thunderbird) are available for free. Thereby managing email is much easier and faster than using the free online services like gmx, freemail etc.
Email Management Tips 11: Close All Gaps!
Know the security holes in your email client (like Outlook). Never open unknown mails frivolously – a tiny bit of attention can save much time for needless limitation of damage.
No stranger loves you, no one will help you earn much money for free or send you an invoice. Plus: Never enter any passwords when prompted in an email!
Email Management Tips 12: Phrase Quite Clearly
It’s essential for consultation and job instructions to make clear priorities:
- „We meet on Sunday at 4pm at Einstein Street 123. If something changes I will notify you by 1pm.“
- „I offer you the following dates (preferences are bold): 18.8., 19.8. or 22.8.“
Thereby any ambiguities, requests and insecurities are pre-eliminated.
Email Management Tips 13: To-Do-Mails
Ask your working partner to write separate short emails for separate jobs or tasks. Thereby you can tick off completed emails faster and move them to the right folder.
Some also write themselves emails as they use their inbox like a to-do-list.
Email Management Tips 14: Call!
Many issues are solved the easiest by phone or face-to-face. Before phrasing a complex email you’re probably faster with a short call-back.
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