How to be efficient with your email inbox

Handle Email in a Time Effective Manner

Although email’s original purpose was to save time and money while making our lives simpler, most days it does just the opposite. Most business owners receive hundreds, if not more, emails on a daily basis. However, you and your employees may be handling emails and responses in a manner that is ineffective and time consuming. If email is a large part of your day, there are several tips that can help make processing more efficient.

1. Set up a time.

If you check your email every 5-10 minutes, you are distracting your attention away from important tasks. Create a schedule in which you check your email every 2 or 3 hours. If prompt responses are important, check your email at the top of every hour. This will still ensure that you respond to a customer or client within an appropriate time frame.

2. Sort

When messages come in, automatically sort them. You can create individual folders with names specific to your needs. Perhaps you want to send certain emails to a “for later use” or a “priority response” folder. Organizing the multiple emails can help you decide which to tackle first and which can be handled at a more convenient time.

3. Delete

For some reason, the delete button scares the average person. Perhaps they are afraid of offending the sender. Or, they fear losing information they may want later. If you immediately spot junk mail, delete it. If the message is simple and doesn’t require storage, delete it. After the first reading, make the decision to store or delete.

4. Read and respond

Many people make the mistake of taking the time to read all of their emails before offering responses. However, you will find yourself rereading emails to offer a fitting response. Also, if you leave the email marked as read it will become easy to forget about it. Instead, read one email and respond to it. Move on to the next one and offer that response. This method is far more time effective.

5. Keep responses concise

Many email messages offer paragraphs of unnecessary information. Keep the message, question, or response brief. Address only what needs attention. Most likely, the sender is just as busy as you. Save time by creating short, concise responses.

6. Keep the message professional, but friendly

Show respect by addressing the sender by name. Create the short message/reply and end with an email signature which should include your name, company’s name, and contact information. The email signature can eliminate further emails simply asking for your phone number.

7. Offer mass responses

If you receive 50 emails all addressing the same concern or question, create a mass email response to send out.

8. Always respond, even if you don’t have an answer

If you cannot respond to an email immediately or must take the time to do some further research, be sure to send out a short “bridge” email. Let the sender know that you are working on a response and should reply within a set time frame. If you simply don’t respond, the sender may think you didn’t get the email or may easily get offended as days pass by.

9. Proofread

Before hitting the send button, proofread. Be sure that the message addresses each required point correctly. Errors not only make you look incompetent, they also waste time in further emails.

If you are like most people, email can take up several hours out of your busy day. Saving even 30 minutes can greatly help free up time for other tasks. Follow these tips to effectively handle your inbox.