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25th September 2017
:: Adviser | Productivity | Emails: Dealing with Overwhelm

Emails: Dealing With Overwhelm
 
If you find you're constantly checking your inbox for new messages throughout the day or you're tempted to respond as soon as you see a new message come in, then you might benefit from these simple tips.
 
 
Emails: Dealing With Overwhelm
 by Clare Evans
 
Despite technology and the electronic age intending to make our lives easier, it hasn't quite worked out that way. These days most of us will be suffering from email overwhelm.
 
If you're going to make the most of your day then one way to increase your productivity is to limit the amount of time you spend on emails.
 
If you find you're constantly checking your inbox for new messages throughout the day or you're tempted to respond as soon as you see a new message come in, then you might benefit from these simple tips.
 
Emails can be a great time waster and provide a constant distraction throughout the day.
  • Set your email system to only check periodically or disconnect yourself from the internet except when you want to download emails.
- In Outlook Express - Tools>Options>General
- In Outlook - Tools>Options>Mail Delivery).
  • Switch off the email notification such as alerts and pop-ups so you don't get distracted throughout the day and change the Checking time to 120/180 minutes.
  • Only check your emails a couple of times in the day. First thing, late morning and again in the afternoon.

Don't jump straight in and start responding. Take a few minutes to sort them into urgent/action, non-urgent and reading.

  • Set aside time in your schedule to respond and limit the amount of time you take.

Limit yourself to 30 minutes at a time without reading any new emails. Leave those until next time.

  • Subscribe only to mailing lists and newsletters that you will read/use on a regular basis.

Go through every few months and unsubscribe from those you no longer read (except this one of course!).

  • Use filters to organise incoming mail into different folders - Action, Reading, Follow-up, Orders etc.

These can be based on the sender or subject so that mail automatically gets diverted into a specific folder and doesn't clog up your inbox.

  • Use a different email address for different types of email. One specifically for business, one for personal, one for newsletters, discussion board and one for registering on websites as a 'junk' mail address.

Might sound complicated but it helps with the sorting process. You can set up your mail browser to pick up multiple accounts and then check the important ones regularly and the less important ones, less often.

  • Once an email has been dealt with, delete it or if you need to, file it in an appropriate folder. Try to keep your Inbox as clear as possible so you can easily see what's new.
Today, we're in danger of information overwhelm. There is so much out there and you don't have to read everything that lands in your inbox. Trust that when you need the information you'll be able to find it, there's always Google.  
 
 
 
 
This has been adapted from an original article written by Clare Evans, in August 2007.
 
Clare is a Time Management Coach, and can be contacted at info@clareevans.co.uk
Her website can be found at The IFA Time Coach
 
 
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