Love it or hate it, email management is an important part of the modern workplace. According to a survey conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute, office workers spend 2.6 hours per day reading and answering emails. That’s a lot of time!
Emails are a primary mode of communications for many work settings and should be treated with high importance. That being said, reading and responding to emails can also be a major distraction as well as extremely stressful, especially if you’re just starting out in your career. (Been there, done that.)
So how does one manage their emails without it taking over their job? Check out my best practises for email management below!
1. Respect organizational hierarchy
Emails from your manager should always take precedent over co-workers. Answer these emails first thing in the morning!
Answering your boss’ emails early is also great for optics.
2. Don’t forget to pay the bills!
If you don’t pay the invoices, you’re heading for a world of trouble. Take care of emails involving financial transactions early so you don’t forget them later.
3. Be mindful of email deadlines
Emails that come with deadlines should be treated like carefully managed emergencies: the closer you are to a deadline, the more attention it requires.
Read more about what separates a soft deadline from a hard deadline.
4. Avoid multi-tasking
Responding to emails – especially the important ones – requires your uninterrupted attention. Tune out non-essential tasks and concentrate on the assignment at hand.
5. Learn to prioritize
If you’re like most professionals, you’re bound to run into conflicting emails that compete with your time. Moments like these demand that you prioritize certain emails, learn to say “No”, and make decisions.
6. Schedule your email time
Give your emails the same respect you would to a major project. Dedicate time everyday to email management.
My preference is to tackle emails first thing in the morning and after lunch. Find out what time works best for you.
7. Build a library
Ensure you archive your emails for your records. You never know when a colleague or a consultant will dispute something you say. This is Covering Your Ass 101.
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