Best Work Yet | Susan Gregory

What I hate about email (and how to fix it)

1.It’s passive. A lot of people start their day in their email inboxes. That approach won’t help you achieve your key goals because you’re being reactive, not proactive. The messages you receive are often requests or information from other people based on their agenda, not yours.

The fix: Do something important first. Have a short list (1-3) of tasks for the day that contribute to achieving your major goals. Get one of your tasks done before you look at your inbox. If your task involves sending email, draft the email elsewhere (for example, in Word), then go to email to send it, so you don’t get distracted by incoming emails.  Which leads to my next pet peeve…

2. It’s distracting. When you’re working on a big task, like writing a proposal, having email open can be a huge distraction. When you see a new email come in, it’s very tempting to read it. Perhaps you even switch to email to quickly respond, figuring you’re saving time by getting it done now. The real problem is that when you switch back to your proposal, you’ve lost momentum. Tasks take a minimum of twice as long when you keep switching.

The fix: Turn off email. Turn off your email notifications (or close your email application) and stop looking at your phone. Set a timer for 20-30 minutes to focus on the task without checking email

3. It’s time consuming. Email traffic just keeps increasing, with the average person sending and receiving 122 business emails per day in 2015*. Some people are even declaring email bankruptcy.

The fix: Solicit fewer emails.

Here are a few tips to receiving fewer emails in your inbox:

  • Talk to your colleagues and your boss about how your team can use email less e.g. avoiding the use of CC except when necessary.
  • Learn how to use filters so you only see email that you need to.
  • Unsubscribe from newsletters.
  • Send shorter emails and people will often respond to you in kind.

Bonus fix: Take our Get Organized with Outlook workshop to make your email application a tool that helps you to get work done.


Categories: Communication,Productivity,Using Outlook.

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