Accidental HR (SM) – Stop Allowing Email to Run Your Life

You’ve got mail.  You’ve got 15 new messages. Ding…whistle…beep! There’s another one. You’ve gotten 30 new messages since lunch and you haven’t gotten anything else accomplished today!

If you’re anything like me, it’s tough to ignore that little notification that tells you that there is something in your In-Box.  It might just be junk… but what if it’s a client question, a request from a co-worker or potential new business?  Undoubtedly, it will be one of those emails at some time or another. There will be important ones and ones you just got copied on and ones you trash and ones you save.  But you do NOT have to do it all day long because you do have real work to get to! And if it is a true emergency, you’ll get a phone call about it, for sure.

According to a study done last year by McKinsey Global Institute and International Data Corp workers spend 28% of their work week on EMAIL! That is about 11 hours of a 40-hour week, although you probably work more hours than that just so you can “catch up on your email.”

Give yourself a break.  The best tip is to designate a specific time or times to read emails each day.  If you have someone who emails you with the subject line of “?????”  because you haven’t responded within 10 minutes of them sending it to you, gently remind them of the times you check your email.  They will get used to you responding once or twice per day, instead of every hour.

You can also set up your email to go into specific folders.  If you know an email from your boss is something that cannot wait, have it go into a folder called “Urgent” and just check those emails first.

When you are ready to check and respond to email, sort your In-Box by “From” instead of “Date.” You can easily glance down through and determine quickly who needs your priority and attention. If John sent you 5 emails today, you may want to check those first!

And lastly, set your Out-of-Office reply if you’re going to be in an all-day meeting, out of town or even just when you leave for the weekend.  Let those who are emailing you know that you’re not responding because you are unavailable to respond to emails at this time, not because you didn’t receive it (because you know they’ll email again saying “did you get this?”)

Take back your time and allow yourself to be more productive at work.  Following a few of these tips will really help you pull yourself out of the email time-warp. Your sanity deserves it!

Do you have a great email tip to share? Tell us how you organize your emailing on our Facebook page.




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