Email is one on the most valuable timesaving tools available in the business world today. Imagine if every time you had to get a message to a client, supplier or employee, you had to pick-up the phone or meet with them in person. The lost hours could be astronomical. Thankfully email allows us to save the time potentially lost to the chit-chat and idle gossip that can occur as a result of talking on the phone or in person. But as much time as email can save for some, it is a major distraction that actually causes the loss of concentration and time for others.
Let’s face it, with email being such a quick and simple form of communication, most people don’t think twice about responding to emails as they arrive or sending a “quick” note on just about anything. But, all those “quick” notes can quickly add up. If you find that way too much time in your day is being lost to email, the following tips may help you regain the precious time that was meant to be saved by email.
1. Set a schedule to read and respond to emails. For most business owners or employees, reading and responding to your emails at scheduled times at the beginning, middle and end of the day will prevent the loss of concentration that can be caused by responding to email as it arrives. For some, it’s vital to check emails almost constantly throughout the day. If this is the case for you, only respond to the most urgent emails, and reply to the less pressing ones during your scheduled email response times.
2. Set up an email organizational system. You can program your email to automatically sort itself for you based on certain conditions such as, the sender or the title. Some email programs such as MS Outlook will even let you color code your email, to allow you to sort them more efficiently and differentiate between important and non-urgent emails.
3. Set-up an autoresponder for general client inquiries. An autoresponder will automatically respond to emails sent to it. This means you can respond to frequently asked questions automatically while for other inquiries, you can let the client know that their message has been received and give them a time frame in which you will respond to their inquiry.
4. Don’t be afraid not to respond to friends sending you chain emails or jokes. If you don’t have time to read them and/or respond, just delete. Most people won’t be offended by not receiving a “ha ha, very funny” email in return.
5. If you have an Administrative Assistant, allow them to sort your email and send general responses to the less important ones. An Assistant can also check your email throughout the day and notify you of anything that needs to be responded to urgently. Exchange servers facilitate this timesaving method. If an Assistant isn’t feasible for you due to space or monetary considerations, you could consider delegating this task to a Virtual Assistant.
6. If a considerable amount of your time is being wasted sorting through junk mail, if possible, heighten your email security. If this is not possible, performing a simple internet search for “stop spam” should give you a selection of programs designed to decrease or eliminate spam.
Email was developed to be a timesaving device. Don’t let it run your business day by making you less efficient. By simply organizing your email and setting specific times to respond to it, you can gain back the time that was initially meant to be saved by email.