Managing the volume of e-mails landing in your inbox
1. Pick up the phone
Do you remember the days when if you wanted to get a message to someone urgently you either picked up the phone or walked to their desk? How much of the mail you receive has been initiated by you in the first place? It’s often very tempting simply send an e-mail to ask a simple question, but then have a whole series of e-mails back and fourth (and time delay) before actually getting the answer you need? Yes, granted, there is an advantage if they are not available, but so often a two-minute phone call could get something done and dusted there and then, without the need for you to be checking every 15 minutes to see if you’ve had a response.
2. Stamping out the CYA culture
Do you have people in your team who feel the need to copy you in on everything they send out in an attempt to cover their a***? For every e-mail you receive internally that does not require direct action from you – make a point of highlighting this with the sender. If you purely want to be copied in for reference then ask that you be cc’d and setup your rules wizard for these items to be sent to a separate file.
3. Educate others
If you always respond to e-mails instantly you set up people’s expectations. With people who you deal with regularly let them know that you only check your e-mails twice a day and that it’s always better to call you if they need to contact you urgently.
4. Get off mailing lists
Most of us these days get tonnes of e-mails to promote products, newsletters, online periodicals, etc, that we either never read – or if we do have little value to your business. So have a purge and unsubscribe to all those you don’t need; if there is no option to unsubscribe (which any reputable company would do) then add the sender’s name to your blocked senders list.
Look out tomorrow for tips on setting up systems and rules.