Ever feel like it's hard to get anything done at work when you're spending so much time reading and writing emails? You're not alone.
Adobe Systems reported that U.S. workers spend about six hours a day, or around 30 hours during the work week, checking their inbox. The result is email fatigue which studies have shown impacts our productivity and stress levels.
So stop wasting time and start using these 6 tips for getting off your email and back to valuable work.
1. Set a timer
Before you start going down the email rabbit hole, set a timer for 15 minutes. When it goes off, then it's time to get out and switch back to your other work.
2. Turn off alerts
Those chimes on your smartphone or computer are pesky distractions. They pull you away from what you're working on in the moment and make you think about the email you're not responding to. Just turn them off altogether.
3. Schedule a time to check emails
Only check your inbox a couple times a day. Work/life balance blogger Hugh Culver talks about the "batching" strategy as an efficient way that could save you one hour a day. During those set times, usually at the start and end of day, you go through your emails then mass delete some and respond to others.
4. Create filters to differentiate by priority
Not all emails are created equal. Lumping together those emails from different departments, work groups, social media and other sources using filters is not only a time-saver, but will also help you get your inbox organized. Also use the flag or "Mark Important" feature to create an email hierarchy to know which emails to respond to first.
5. Reduce junk mail
One study says up to 80 percent of emails are simply “waste.” An unruly inbox full of unneeded promotion emails can add to your mental anguish. Dedicate some time to unsubscribing to those emails or use services like "Unroll.Me" to manage it for you.
6. Email less
If you send less emails, you'll end up receiving less. Try not to CC unnecessary people. A Harvard Business Review study concluded that when a team lowered email output by 54 percent, 10,400 annual employee-hours were gained. It also helps to keep your replies brief and storing standard messages for repeated complicated messages.
About the Author
Nicole is Director of Marketing at Kintone, with 10+ years experience in content strategy, campaign management, lead acquisition and building positive work cultures of empowered, purpose-driven team members. She spent seven years as a journalist, previously serving as a CBS San Francisco digital producer, NPR contributor, Patagon Journal deputy editor and reporter for several publications, including the Chicago Tribune. She's passionate about the tech for good space, social entrepreneurship and women leadership. On the weekends, you’ll likely find her putting her Master Gardener skills to use in at community gardens in Oakland.