4 Email Hacks to Keep From Being Overwhelmed

It happens so easily: one day, your email is under control. You’re able to read each new item that hits your inbox. Then suddenly, you’re inundated with emails, and you can’t keep up.

The fact that the average person spends 650 hours a year reading, responding, or sending emails tells us that we’ve far from mastered productivity in this department. And yet, fewer people actually pick up the phone to communicate these days, which only means that the number of emails in our inboxes are only going to increase.

What’s a business owner to do?

  1. Keep the Queue Cleared

While it’s easy to let emails pile up, you’re better off reading a chunk of them when you have time. After opening each, decide: can it be…

  • Deleted?

  • Responded to quickly?

  • Saved for further research?

For any that you need to wait to respond to, put a task on your calendar to do so. Sometimes entrepreneurs use their inboxes as a to-do list, but that rarely is successful.

  1. Be More Scrutinizing After Vacation

It’s the worst: as soon as you return from vacation, you open your inbox to find hundreds — even thousands — of unopened emails. And while you want to give them each your undivided attention, that’s probably not the best strategy here.

Instead, immediately delete any that are unnecessary to read. You don’t need to look at that blog post that was published last week, nor those promotional emails from a vendor. This should reduce 60% of your unopened emails right off the bat. After that, dedicate time to go through the ones that actually look important.

  1. Avoid the Email Chain

Have you ever watched an email chain grow and grow as you and your team replied to one another? It’s frustrating and a waste of time. Opt to use a different communication channel, like Slack, a tool that lets you organize your communication so you only get notified when you need to chime in.

  1. Set Up Designated Email Reading Time

Tim Ferriss, author of 4-Hour Workweek, gained his notoriety when he told the world how rarely he checked email. You might not get away with checking it only every few days, but if you decide that, for example, you will check it when you first get into work, after lunch, and before you leave for the day, you won’t constantly stop what you’re doing to see if any new email came in.

Don’t let email take over your life. Use these hacks to get back to productivity.

By Andrew Patricio

March 29, 2017