Email Management Best Practices

Email management is always challenging. Email overload is costing you millions and maybe your dream of success. Email has become a real monster and time stealer to many business leaders. A M.D. conducted a study of his own email usage and discovered that email overload was costing his practice approximately $1600 per year. Add that figure to every employee in your organization and it could add up to millions of dollars in lost productivity. The need for information management is nothing new. From pre-historic stone tablets to massive warehouses of paper files in 1975, managing information has always been a challenge. It is not until the age of computers and the internet that the need to minimize electronic communication became necessary. Being overwhelmed with communication is no longer the primary danger. The legal implications of errant emails and electronic communication is now widely know. 
Smart email management best practices are required by every business leader of the modern era. After two decades of learning the hard way, we are finally at a point where we have a good set of simple rules for managing the beast that is electronic communication.
  • Set a specific time for email reading.
  • Limit the number of times you check or automatically receive email.
  • Turn off electronic alerts.
  • When in doubt, pick up the phone.
The more you accept, read, and respond to emails, the more people will send them to you. A common effective practice is to let emailers know that you will not accept emails longer than five sentences. Anything longer is consider a conversation and should be had by phone, Skype, or in person. 3 email reading sessions per day is also a popular strategy. Allow each email session to last 30 minutes and be brutal on  your time management. 
Electronic alerts might be one of the most time stealing and attention breaking tools ever invented. Avoid such alters whenever you can. An effective habit for changing the behavior of those with overuse of email is to pick up the phone and call the emailer instead of responding via electronic means. A brief and polite comment that you prefer phone calls for certain types of communication can be very effective. Set your expectations or others will set them for you. The Breviary: A helpful article with facts on how emails wreck productivity can be found here. Learn to set boundaries so others do not set them for you. Electronic communication is an excellent tool when managed well. Take steps to limit such communication to improve your leadership strategy. Blog image compliments of © Marek Uliasz | – Information overload concept
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