Productivity is gold in business. CEOs, managers, and employees alike are constantly looking for ways to speed up their processes — and, in turn, boost profits for their company. One such process is daily email management, on which the average American professional spends 28% of their work day.This results in approximately 2.6 hours spent and 120 messages received per day.
To make your emails less of a time sink, we’ve outlined a few tried-and-true tips below on how to improve email management efficiency.
1. Set a time for email responses
Experts recommend replying to your emails once per day, at a set time that suits you best. Be sure to limit this time so it doesn’t drag you behind the day’s other, more important tasks. This will vary from one person to the other, so it helps to evaluate the time you take to process emails, determining how much of that time is productively spent.
The key to this is to prioritize. Start with the emails that take the quickest (about one to two minutes, max) to reply. Chances are, this comprises the majority of your inbox, and helps you get a big bulk of your emails archived and out of the way.
2. Filter out the spam
Letting your junk mail pile up will only result in clutter and unnecessary time spent wading through your relevant messages. To keep things orderly, set spam filters to keep these emails from entering your primary inbox. Some also whitelist or blacklist addresses, depending on whether they’re spam or a trustworthy recipient, keeping their inbox as clean as possible.
Of course, be sure to unsubscribe from newsletters or brands whose emails you don't typically read. While useful for keeping up to date on specific company updates or staying in touch with clients, those left untouched for long periods result in unnecessary bulk in your inbox.
3. Organize relevant emails into folders
Having different categories or folders in your inbox can help you prioritize your email responses.
For example, you may have “Admin” as a first-level, high-priority folder while having emails from IT or accounting among your second-tier categories. The same goes for different clients or company partners.
When the time comes to process your messages, these folders will guide you on where to start. Additionally, having folders prevents your emails from becoming a messy, tangled mess.
4. Use templates and automation
Email platforms have thankfully grown more sophisticated over the years, with many offering automated functions to speed up your email management.
Microsoft Outlook, for instance, allows users to automatically filter out messages based on specific terms or keywords. An action is then applied when the term is matched, sorting the email into its respective folder.
Another helpful shortcut is the use of templates. If you find yourself often writing the same types of messages in your emails or replies, such as inquiries, feedback, and thank-you messages, it may help to have pre-written templates.
This way, all you need to do is fill in the message template for a particular email, saving you a substantial amount of time than if you were to write the entire email from scratch.
5. Use the “80/20” rule
Finally, busy workers can greatly benefit from using the “80/20” rule, prioritizing the highest-value 20% of your emails, while taking your time with the other 80%.
This ensures that the most important clients and projects get primary attention, allowing you to craft well-thought-out, quality responses to better foster these connections. Such recipients can include business and networking opportunities, close friends and industry partners, media requests, and interview bookings.
The emails that warrant a typical one-minute response time generally fall under the other 80%, along with those that may not require a response at all.
Prioritization and automated tools can lend themselves to better email management and more productive workers. Our experts at Founders Technology offer the latest in email filtering software and automation solutions. For more information on keeping your inboxes clean and safe, get in touch with us today.