EmailWe’ve all done it – allowed ourselves to be distracted by email rather than getting busy with the task at hand. Email, while often productive and important, can steal time in the most creative ways. Try these techniques, and encourage your colleagues to do the same. (Note: This email can be used as the topic of an office meeting – list it on the agenda as “Time Saving/Office Productivity.”)

  1. Never send or forward “chain letter” email. You’ll still have friends and good things will still happen to you. As soon as you can tell that it’s “one of those,” hit delete.
  2. Don’t send “bounce-back” emails (thanking someone for thanking you).
  3. Learn to use the subject line as the complete email. End the subject line with: EOM, which stands for “End of Message.” For example, send an email like this: Office Meeting Time Changed to 8:30 a.m. EOM. No one has to open this email, they just read, take note, and delete.
  4. Learn to use email folders. Usually it’s just a right click on your email inbox to create a folder (or ask your “help” program). As soon as you’ve processed an email and determined that you MUST save it, slide it into the appropriate email folder. For example, if you receive a confirmation of an airline reservation, once you’ve opened it and noted the times and flights are correct, put it in the “Travel Confirmation” folder that you’ve created. Depending on the type of business you do, you might have many email folders, but more than a screen-full is too many.
  5. Set a goal to process everything in your email inbox EVERY day. Move items to folders or delete. Remember that you can usually retrieve things from your “Deleted” items for at least a few weeks depending on your organization’s policies, so don’t be afraid to delete.
  6. Set a limited number times each day to review email, and unless you are expecting a CRITICAL email, do not look in your inbox at other times (and turn off the sound chime).
  7. Learn to use the “rules” that are available in your email program. If your boss sends you email, have it diverted to the “Employer” folder, and then look at this folder first when you begin processing your email.
  8. Are there some people who should *not* be sending you emails? Divert their emails to your “Junk” folder. You might look at it someday . . . or you might not.
  9. Do everything you can to avoid personal email at work. You know you’re not supposed to do it. You know that these emails sometimes go to the wrong people. You know this is bad.
  10. 10. Proofread your emails, spell check them, and make sure you’re sending them to the right person. Untold chaos can result from sending an unclear email to the wrong person. (Even worse – sending a very clear email to the wrong person.)

Use the ideas in this email that will help address your chaos; and remember, share them with others, too. That’s best of all.

Are you safe? Do you have time, energy, and attention thieves lurking around you – ready to rob you of your most precious resources?

If that sounds like you, and you’re ready to banish those burglars once and for all, you will love this practical and specific Get a Plan! Guide® to Thwarting the Thieves of Your Time, Energy, & Attention. If you like reading and having a document to refer to, you may purchase and download this 47-page, full-color Get a Plan! Guide®. You’ll be glad you did!