A recurring theme with clients is how they are constantly overwhelmed and submerged within their various inboxes, resulting in less and less time to achieve the things they need to achieve and an increase in stress.
We have developed a culture of being available 24/7 – anytime, anyplace, anywhere. It sounds more like the 1980’s advert for Martini for those of you who can remember that! But, this desire we have created to always be connected only serves to drain our time, our energy, our emotions, our creativity, and our clarity of thought, which in turn reduces our quality of life, health and output. This is not the way we are designed to live our lives and only sets us on the unfortunate path to mental stress, burnout, and failure at achieving what we need to achieve, and with the intention deserved.
Constantly sitting in our inbox is wholly inefficient – that’s a fact. To achieve more, we must create time to step outside of our inbox. Here are a few things we can do to help reduce the email overwhelm, create some time, and essentially achieve more in less time:
- No more ‘Martini’ moments. Disconnect from being available anytime, anyplace, anywhere – that’s a must.
- Turn off all notifications from all inboxes – email, Whatsapp, Facebook, etc – everything. It will be strange at first, but you will survive! We lived well for centuries prior to all of these notifications.
- Never check emails as soon as you wake up in the morning – it could upset your day before it even starts. It can be very unproductive.
- Batch process your email – diary in about three times a day to check your messages and respond. Set a reminder alarm if you need to.
- Set up email rules to move emails into specific folders for you to action. We all work differently so to provide examples would only suit a few and confuse many – CreatingTime™ can provide individual support if required.
- Consider whether an email requires a formal response, or whether a phonecall will prove more efficient, with a brief follow-up email to agree actions.
- Every single email you look at takes time – even to just read the title and press delete. If you constantly receive circulars from organisations that you’re not interested in – unsubscribe, or if you can’t, then block the sender. It only takes a few seconds, and will create time in the long run.
- Try and handle an email once only. When opened – action it, then file or delete – or put it in an action folder for dealing with if it requires a longer response time.
- We are in a culture where it’s so easy to copy many people into emails. If you find that you get copied into many emails at work and you don’t need them, have a friendly chat with the sender and ask them to remove you from the distribution list. That chat could create a lot of time for you in the long run. And consider who you copy emails to – if they don’t need a copy, then don’t clog up their inboxes.
- Best not to rely on creating searches to find anything in your inboxes – that takes time every time you’re looking for something and relies on key words being present in emails and the correct spelling – you may end up missing vital emails. So, be sure to construct a strong filing system.
These are only a few points on how to make your inbox more efficient and reduce the overwhelm. It will take a little bit of time to set up and plan, but time spent planning will create a wealth of time for you in the long run.
And if you still have too many emails and messages to deal with, then an assistant could be worth their weight in gold! If you need support, CreatingTime™ can add efficiency to your day by helping you to setup your systems, or by managing your inboxes, tracking actions, drafting responses, etc and creating time for you to focus on achieving more and living life as it should be.