When I’m out and see a dog pulling it’s owner by the leash I can’t help but wonder who is walking whom? Is your email managing you and your time? Is it causing you stress and the feeling of being overwhelmed? Try this process for no less than 2 weeks:
(1) Commit to checking your email no more than 2-3x/day. Schedule 10-20 minutes everyday, at specific times, and check only then! The benefits? You will feel more focused and less distracted and this alone will improve your productivity.
(2) Delete junk email immediately. Unsubscribe to sites that do not have specific personal or professional value. The benefits? You will save time, money, and have more time for important communications.
(3) Create a folder for “ACTION” emails. When you check email, if you can act on it quickly, do so. Move all other “action” items into the folder; these are items that have a due date and/or require more attention. The benefits? You will have an effective system for prioritizing tasks, save time looking for items, and never miss a deadline.
(4) Create a folder for “REFERENCE” emails. Move items that have no due date or require any action into this folder. These are emails that look interesting and can be read later or kept for future informational purposes. Purge this folder at least monthly, if you haven’t read these items in a month they are probably not important enough to save! The benefits? Optimize your time, manage the volume of incoming emails, prioritizing improves productivity and reduces stress.