What items do you repeat on a daily basis for work day after day? If you added up the most repeated items you do how much time would they take up? According to the Huffington Post 6.3 hours per day are spent checking email. 6.3 hours. Most normal jobs require 8 hours per day so if you do that math that is a lot of time on emails.
What else do we do over an over in a day that takes a lot of time? Usually the answer is some type of communication with a client or coworkers. Emails, phone calls and meetings take up a very large percentage of the work day for most workers. If you ask most frustration comes from the amount of meetings and communication that take most people away from doing the more important things.
This mass amount of communicating can cause a lot of frustration and can lead to a sense of failure or lack of accomplishment in day to day tasks due to no time being left for important things.
Batch During Peek Hours to Hide from Email Chat and Other Time Consuming Fodder
Most people can’t help but treat email like a chat system that requires their attention ever 5 minutes. Email really is mail after all but we have transformed it into something resembling a monster that controls our day. Tim Ferris talks about checking email twice per day at peak times and batch the emails so that we save time. Although this is a terrific solution it won’t always work for a lot of employees who are required to be on top of important emails that come in throughout the day.
My suggestion is to batch like Tim has suggested but instead of asking for forgiveness from your boss when they realize you aren’t checking your email very often, plan your day in a way that will all but hide the fact that you aren’t checking your email every minute.
Create Filters to Handle Bulk Amounts of Emails and Notifications for Important Messages
The solution can be a mix of Tim’s advice with a little help from technology. First use Pareto’s Law of 80/20 to figure out who your top 20% of clients are that you need to keep happy. Once you have defined these clients set up filters to handle their emails in a way that will allow you to get back to them quickly.
Gmail has the option for you to filter based on emails, companies, keywords and a myriad of other items:
Once you create the filter regardless of your email you can put those emails into a folder that you can attach to your favorite email client. Next create a notification that will go off when new messages go into that folder. This way if you get an email from a top client you will know right when it happens and can jump on it.
On the flip side you may have a lot of emails from co-workers or friends/family that can wait. Have all these emails auto moved to a folder to check and empty once per day.
Other options could include having a group project in school or at work that would require your immediate attention. This could work the same as the first option where you add all coworkers or classmates on to the filter so you can get notified when the new emails come in on that project.
Check Remaining Emails During Peak Hours
Peak hours include right before lunch or right before going home. Both will deliver the email right when people don’t want to respond because they are going for lunch or going home. It is then on them to get back to you later in the day or the next day. If you batch all emails together during this time you can save a lot of back and forth just by staying away from constant checking all day.
Effective Vs. Efficient
You can efficiently communicate with clients by having a lot of rules and folders for your emails. This article is more about being effective only checking emails when needed and in a way that will allow you to free up hours per day but not create stress for your boss.
Try out a few filter options to find out what works for you and check your time difference before and after your email optimization techniques.