At times it can feel as if email is ruling your life – constantly dealing with a barrage of new messages you never get time to tackle any of your real work tasks. Read on to pick up some tips for managing email so you can take back control of your email.
You decide the time and place
Change the way you think about email, rather than it being a distraction that pulls you away from your work, turn off your email notification and schedule specific times into your day for looking at your inbox. It is estimated that it takes 64 seconds to get back into work after reading an email message , if you’ve got a message alert on which notifies you every five minutes that you’ve received a new message that’s a lot of time out of your working day!
Email – it’s just a tool
Email is just a tool and sometimes it’s not the right tool for the job. You can spend ages going back and forth with somebody over email and never actually reach a conclusion. Before sending a message – stop and think about the task you need to do. Would it be easier to pick up the phone or to meet with somebody face to face?
Don’t check your email, process it
When you look at your inbox use your time effectively – don’t just check your email, process it:
In this way you can try to control the sheer amount of email that you have in your inbox. Alternatively you could think about using flags to indicate messages that need follow up action.
Once you’ve processed it file it or delete it
There are some messages that need to be kept as an official record of what has happened, or to inform decision making. Others are of transitory importance and can be deleted once a meeting has taken place or a task has been completed. Transitory emails might include:
• messages that you’ve been cc-ed into that contain information used only for ease of reference and not as the official record;
• informal messages or rough drafts which are not required as evidence of the development of a document;
• miscellaneous notices of meetings, holidays, etc;
• messages of thanks;
• copies of reports and newsletters which are available on the web;
• messages received as part of a distribution list or received from listservs, e.g. jiscmail lists;
• personal emails.
As email is used to conduct so much University business there will be some emails which do need to be kept as official records. This includes messages that you may send. If you’re sending an email that needs to be kept as a record consider using the Send and File option so you can file your messages as you go along.
Please view the Processing email Decision Tree for detailed information on how to process your email efficiently.
We have some further tips to help you manage your mailbox – take a look!