Business Productivity Tip: Control Email

email limits

“Turn off your email; turn off your phone; disconnect from the internet; figure out a way to set limits so you can concentrate when you need to…Technology is a good servant, but a bad master.” ~ Gretchen Rubin

The Email Disaster

About a month ago, my email crashed. Ugh!  It was crazy trying to delete the unwanted ads, emails, newsletters, etc.  I’ve now got it all under control, but what a lot of work.

Email is great to be able to communicate with people, but overwhelming when not managed.  Plus, if you get notifications, you can spend your whole day pinging between your work and the next “urgent” request.

It Is Time To Regain Control

Although it was a pain to clean out a couple years worth of email, the energy I now feel when I open my inbox is amazing.  Now I only handle what comes in today.  When I finish work, I spend a couple minutes deleting, saving, and unsubscribing so when I close my inbox, it is empty.  Yep…E-M-P-T-Y!

If you find yourself a slave to your email or if it is weighting you down.  Here are a few tips to help you regain control.

  1. Set-up Folders – This is a way to file away things you want to read but don’t have time to do.
  2. Adopt the GTD philosophy – Getting Things Done by David Allen is a great way to approach email. Look at each one. Ask, “can it be done in less than 2 minutes?”  If so reply and archive.  If not, decide to file it, create a to do (we’ll talk about that in a minute), or delete it.
  3. Use a Task Manager – Do you use your Inbox as a to do list? That can’t work for the long haul.  Instead look at other tools such as ToDoIst, Toodledo, Wunderlist, or I just discovered GQueues which is a simple interface that works really well with Gmail.  Immediately create your to do, then archive the email.
  4. Turn off notifications – Unless you ware waiting for important information, turn off your email notifications.
  5. Set-up time to check email – If you find yourself constantly checking email, you are wasting a lot of time.  Instead schedule time to go to email and reply to whatever is there.  Depending on how many you get in a day, you might check once an hour, three times a day or even twice a day.  Choose what is best for you and then stick to it for at least 3 weeks.


The World is Saner Beyond Email

Once you take control, you will find not only do you have more time, but you will be saner while doing so.  Have you gotten control of your email?  If so, how?  Pop over to Facebook and let us know or Tweet your tip with the hashtag #bptemail.

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