Do Email Better
There are few things in life that control us more than our email accounts. Email can dictate one's attitude, schedule, and even sleeping habits. Unless we're intentionally careful with how much of our lives we give email.
Email is a great communication tool that allows for large quantities of information to be transported around the world almost instantly. But it also can sour attitudes, dominate time, and drain energy if we don't use it effectively.
Over the last few months I have been working on 'freeing' myself from email accounts. Here are 3 steps that I have taken to lessen the role of email in my life. Check them out and see if any of them are helpful in your life as well!
- Batch emails. A simple way to keep email from stealing away all your time is to schedule when you will check email. And log out of it the rest of the time, especially if you do much of your work on your computer. Pick two or three time slots throughout the day when you will respond to emails, delegate them, or delete them (don't let them just sit in your inbox). For me, I skim read my emails about 30 minutes after I get into work every day in order to identify any truly important messages from my bosses or important clients. Then I will spend one 45 minute period in the morning and one 45 minute period in the afternoon dealing with batches of emails in my inbox (again, either by responding, delegating, or deleting). This frees me up the rest of my day to focus on the most important projects and meetings that I have and it helps me from allowing my email to dictate how my day goes.
- Turn off email notifications. This one builds off of the first point. The idea is to separate yourself from your email. And logging out of email on your computer for most of the day is counteracted if you are getting notifications for every email on your smart phone, smart watch, smart tablet, and smart glasses. So turn off email notifications on your devices (and I prefer to have almost no notifications on my devices period). So the next time you are in a meeting you won't keep on getting distracted by the 'dinging' or 'buzzing' of the phone in your pocket or purse. Instead, you can be present with whomever you're actually with at the moment. So, simple task: turn off email notifications.
- Autoresponders. This one is quick: use an autoresponder when you are off work for a while. Enjoy your time off by yourself or with friends or family without having to worry about your emails stacking up and angry individuals wondering why they are still waiting for a reply. Just go into your settings and set up a simple message that provides the contact information of a colleague if the need is urgent, and then don't worry about responding to them until you are back in the office!
Email is great. And dangerous. Use responsibly!