We’ve all had those days where one email sent is followed by a lengthy scroll…
Check your emails less
There are two types of people in the working world, those who are obsessive compulsive about clearing their inbox, and those who have never deleted an email in their life.
Neither situation is time effective or stress relieving, particularly as the average professional spends 28% (2.6 hours) of the workday reading and answering emails, according to McKinsey analysis.
To help you come back from whatever extreme end of the email spectrum you live, we are here to offer a more moderate approach: check your emails less. Once you hear how much time we unnecessarily lose on emails, you will want to learn how to quickly get that time back. Below are our tips on how to do so:
Clean your inbox
First things first, give yourself some mental clarity. Yes, we know it’s easy to find the email you need with the search function, no matter how many emails your inbox is holding on to. However, if there are emails in your inbox, you’ll read them, then you’ll read them again, then you’ll read them again in case you’ve missed one. In fact, without a conscious plan you will miss some. On average, professionals only reply to 25% of their emails. That’s not many when you consider how much time is spent on them.
So you’ve cleared your inbox, how do you keep on top of it? Read below.
You only need to read your emails once, stop over checking
On average, professionals check their emails every 37 minutes. Not only does this include actually checking your emails, but most people also have notifications turned on so that they can see every email coming in. You wouldn’t expect your colleagues to reply to you immediately, so don’t put that pressure on yourself either!
Allow yourself to check your emails every 90 minutes. Research by Brian Tracy suggests, if it takes less than 60 seconds to reply, do it immediately. Otherwise, for emails that will take longer, file them into a to do list and set an action, for example in the Find column of GoalShaper, to reply to this email when you have the time. Scientist Andrew Huberman, suggests working in 90-minute blocks every day, without distraction. Every time you see an email notification pop up; it will take you on average, 23 minutes to get back into the zone that you just left. Turn off all notifications in your 90 minute stints, don’t check your emails, don’t check your Instagram or Twitter, and you’ll be amazed at how much you get done.
Your folders aren’t helping you stay organized
The only folder you need, as mentioned above, is your to do folder. Professional’s delay replying to emails 37% of the time, and so finding these emails we need to reply to, takes up a big part of the working day. That’s why people create folders so they think they’ll be able to find old emails quicker, however scrolling through hundreds of old emails in your ‘Admin’ folder, will actually lose you time.
By following the above steps, you already know that everything you need to do will be in your to do list file, and everything that didn’t take long to respond to, has already been responded to. There is therefore no need for the rest of the mess. With GoalShaper, you can save even more time with email integration, whereby tasks are automatically converted from your emails to your actions list within the software.
Unsubscribe from the irrelevant
According to data from Sanebox, 62% of all email is not important, yet we waste so much time reading it or even just deleting it. What will be a short-term battle, for a long-term win, is unsubscribing to every newsletter or marketing email that you know you’ll never read again. This will take longer in the short run, but prevent you from having to delete it every time it comes in. Anything that you can’t unsubscribe to but is still clogging up your inbox, block. You’ll be so relieved when all the riff raff stops creeping in.
It’s time to take control of your working day. You own your inbox; your inbox doesn’t own you. By following this conscious email plan, you can put those wasted hours back into your week and finally start achieving big milestones, instead of simply staying afloat.