Believe it or not, there is a right way and a wrong way to use your email. Managed poorly, your email can vastly reduce your productivity at work, causing mounds of undue stress and anxiety. If you constantly find yourself coming up for air after dealing with a flood of emails, here are a few habits to cultivate so you can efficiently reign in your inbox.
1. Time Management
It can be easy to lose track of time when working from your email. Instead of popping in and out of your inbox throughout the day, consider removing email notifications to help you focus on the task at hand. Rather, set aside blocks of time during your day to deal with emails.
2. Take Action
When you do set aside time to work on emails, don't merely read them and then let them pile up. Take action on every message by utilizing the 4 "D's" of email. Either Delete it, Deal with it, Defer it, or Delegate it. Delete it: You don't actually have to save everything...Not every email needs a response or pertains to you, so save yourself the time and your inbox the emails. Don’t be afraid to delete things within reason and try to only keep emails that are informative resources or ongoing projects. Defer it: Even if you can't respond to a certain email right away, don’t be afraid to acknowledge that you received the email but will respond within another time frame. Flag it as either unread or with a special tag so it doesn't slip through the cracks. Marking it appropriately will ensure you come back to it later. It may even prove useful to create a folder for these messages you've put off so that they don't get pushed to the bottom of your que, and you can deal with them all in one place. Delegate it: CC yourself on things you need further information on in order to take action. This way you remain in the loop and focused on your responsibilities.
3. Set up Folders
Two words: Inbox Folders. Create folders in your inbox either by subject, client, project or priority depending on what best suits your business. Your inbox should just be a holding place. Once you have "dealt" with an email, either delete it or keep it in one of these folders as an archive that you routinely manage.
4. Filter, Filter, Filter
Unfortunately, most emails we receive don’t even have important or relative information. Often, it's worth the time and initial investment to utilize email filters that block out spam or marketing emails. At worst, they'll at least limit the amount you receive as going through and deleting them is a major time waster.
5. Write Better Emails
Think about the kind of emails you want to receive and incorporate this into your own emails. Short and to the point, with a clear subject line is always best. If you find yourself rewriting what is essentially the same message over and over again, save and reuse boilerplate emails. Of course you can also always send fewer emails by calling, popping in, or texting for something urgent. Developing these 5 habits should help you feel a sense of control over your inbox and allow you to stay on top of your to do list!At Number8, we help project managers connect with highly trained and efficient IT support to help reach company goals. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page!
In the world of technology, distractions are everywhere. Pinging notifications have a way of popping up on our phones and computers, and then an hour later, we find ourselves trying to remember what it was we were doing in the first place. However, when it comes to staying focused at work, it's just a matter of building good habits that will stand the test of time (or at least get you to the end of the work day). Here are a few tips for focusing amidst the mountain of emails and instant messages that are sure to come your way.
3 Tips for Focusing At Work:
Set specific goals.
Part of the reason we get distracted at all at work is that we are bored or overwhelmed by the task at hand. However, knowing your priorities and setting goals can help minimize any attempt at procrastination. One of the best tips for focusing is proper goal setting. Proper goal setting works best when you break down each goal into reasonable time blocked tasks. Outlining all the steps it will take to accomplish what you want and then giving yourself a time limit for each one will help motivate you to meet your potential and fulfill your deadlines. Make sure the goals you set areSMART; meaning they are specific, measurable, assignable, relevant, and timely. This will ensure that you aren’t overwhelming yourself or wasting time on unattainable projects. Also try tackling the hardest tasks at the beginning of the day when you’re most energized and have loads of time ahead of you, and save the more routine things on your to do list for the end of the day when you’re brain and attention span is winding down. This way you won’t be as stressed or pushed for time on an important project.
It’s important to step back every once in a while, and if you do so regularly, you’ll find yourself less prone to give into the little distractions that present themselves throughout the day because you’ve already taken a break. For example, after spending a period of time hard at work, try rewarding yourself by getting up and walking around, grabbing a cup of coffee, filling up your water bottle, or even eating a mid afternoon treat. You can control the temptation to constantly check emails, social media, and text messages by setting aside a specific about of time in your workday for it. Catch up with your peers during lunch, so you don't find yourself chitchatting at your desk instead of working. It also helps if your work space is somewhat enjoyable. So if you can, listen to background music to pump you up or keep your brain relaxed.
\ When you’re in the office, why not make your devices work for you? Take advantage of the many apps out there that can track your time spent on certain sites, and even block those that you are prone to linger on for too long like YouTube or Facebook. Additionally, consider disabling your phone by turning it on silent, or having calls go directly to voicemail so you’re not interrupted unnecessarily during work hours. Keeping any handheld devices in your bag, or face down on your desk so you can’t see if the screen lights up, will also help prevent you from being pulled off track.
At Number8, we believe one of the keys to achieving your business's goals is great IT that supports your company. We help businesses access great IT by connecting them with remote workers that utilize best-practice tools and processes. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page!
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