50 Emails In 50 Minutes

hourglassWhen you’re suffering from email overwhelm and your inbox is in the hundreds, you need to clear it quick. Did you know you can deal with about 50 emails in an hour?

Start by sorting your messages by ‘From’ name. (In Outlook click on the word ‘From’ and your messages will sort alphabetically). Grouping like messages together enables you to scan through them quickly.

First select those that can simply be deleted. While doing this consider if they are something you can unsubscribe from and take a minute to do so now.

Next, find the emails that are higher in priority and that will take a few minutes each to respond to.

Hint: Make sure you have a resource of templates to refer to when answering recurring questions. Templates are a great time-saver. If you don’t have any templates yet, then start now. Copy and paste each standard email reply you send out into a new email. Leave the From field empty and the Subject field can be ‘Template: subject of email’. Save these templates as drafts to pull up and use for frequently asked questions. By labelling them all starting with ‘Template’ you can easily go to your Drafts folder, sort by Subject and grab a suitable template to use when needed. It saves having to search through your Sent email folder to find the latest related email you sent to copy from.

Lastly, scan through ezines you are subscribed to and take a few minutes to read.

Hint: Keep an “ideas” file where you can document everything of interest that you come across for future reference. This prevents you having to save and sort through old ezines for the great tip you read about 6 months ago. If everything is in one file it is easier to find when you need to access the information. My ideas file is a Task I created in Outlook called ‘Tips and Tools’ with the following headings: Name/Website (the name of the tool, software or service and its URL), Function (how it is used), and Details (where and from who I heard about it).

Or use the hour to reply to at least five priority emails with full responses. These are the emails that require you to do some research or look into a technical issue in order to address.

Hint: Keep track of the average number of email messages you receive in one week to determine how often and for how long you should commit to dealing with your messages. If you receive 100 emails on average in a week, an hour or less a day of focused time managing emails will keep your inbox at manageable numbers. Use this technique on a regular basis and you will never suffer email overwhelm again.

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