While we’re sure one of your favorite office tactics is the coworker who calls you three and a half minutes after sending an email…to ask if you received the email…we’re hoping to save you some time (and frustration) nonetheless. The average office worker gets 200 messages a day and spends about two-and-a-half hours reading and responding to emails. While email is the immediate form of contact we all love, it’s also one of the largest time suckers we face on a daily basis. The constant checking and follow-up responses can cause you to get stuck in managing minutiae rather than leading your team in growth. Stop your email addiction with these quick tips.
Set Style Expectations
When you work with a group, there will inevitably be different communication styles, and nothing highlights that more than email messages. Some prefer short and to the point, while others are lengthy with well thought-out paragraphs. When the two opposites meet in the inbox, a silent confrontation can form from misunderstanding the other’s style. Before beginning a project, explain how you communicate via email with the team to avoid a misinterpretation or assumption based on your words.
Designated Email Times
If the incoming email “ding” or the red “1” symbol by the mail app on your phone drives you to check the inbox, it’s time to set allotted times for email reads. On average, we check our email 15 times a day. Your goal is to narrow that down to two. Block out a (small) window of time in the morning and afternoon to check and respond to emails. If you’re worried you’ll be needed immediately, add a short tag to your email signature that indicates you’re available by phone if there’s an urgent need.
Respond Or Archive
When you read an email the first time, take action. Respond, archive, or delete it. If not, you’ll come back to it later in the day and re-read it, wasting more time than necessary. Read it. Take Action.
Switch It Up
Consider if email is the best form of communication for the message you need to send. If there’s a risk for constant back-and-forth filling your inbox, make a phone call. We write about 40 emails a day, so if you can find ways to communication that are memorable, you’ll likely get your point across better. Try a video message, hand written note, or meet them in person.
Email With Purpose
Do not include a recipient on your email unless it directly pertains to them or one of their assignments. Roughly 72 percent of the emails received by the average office worker are irrelevant to them, so skip the CC and BCC lines and save your colleagues some time in their day.
Test Your System
Once you’ve implemented a few of our tips, focus on reducing the amount of time you spend of formulating a single email. One way to do this is to set email templates of commonly sent message – response to clients, weekly employee updates, meeting invites – and if you’re spending too much time evaluating your wording, just pick up the phone.
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