The Secret to Email Productivity for Executives
Written by Renée Safrata - firstname.lastname@example.org, September 22nd, 2009
Email is a great source of stress and frustration for business leaders and executives. It kills productivity, hinders results and decreases personal motivation. A minor shift in your email management process can produce a major productivity improvement.
Clients tell me on a regular basis, “I get 300 emails a day,” “I have 1200 emails in my inbox ,” “It’s hard to stay on-top of the ‘incoming’ – urghh.”
Checking email, reading email and answering email can take hours of time if you let it. But only if you let it.
I have the secret to email productivity – and it works!
Picture your mailbox at home. Mine is a black metal mailbox affixed to a stone wall. Now, visualize it completely jammed with letters, over-flowing with envelopes.
At home, we don’t treat our mailbox as a storage system. We do not keep letters there for nights upon nights, weekends…forever. No! Every day we remove the mail, sort it and do something with it – open, toss or save for later. That’s the same thing you need to do with your inbox.
Here’s the solution: treat your inbox like a mailbox, not a storage box.
- Create 4-5 folders to prioritize messages. I use ‘Urgent’, ‘Important but Not Urgent’, ‘Awaiting Reply’, ‘Read’, ‘Resources’.
- When mail arrives, SORT into appropriate file folders before doing anything else!
- Deal with the ‘urgent’ emails once your sorting is complete. I look at my urgent emails twice a day.
- Deal with the secondary folders on a regular basis - I check the ‘Important but Not Urgent’ emails every second day and dip into the other files once per week.
In order to make this work, you will have to catch yourself to SORT first and to ‘deal with’ second. On the days when you let this slide, you will quickly notice how your emails get out of hand.
Try it and see how it goes.