Manage email – 8 Tips

Published on 15th October 2017 in Productivity

Tips to Manage email

1. Label your e-mail.
Use smart labels for your e-mails. Start your subject line with either of the below 3 words:

  • <info> for information
  • <action> if the recipient is expected to take an action
  • <comment> If you want them to provide their views or feedback

This works well if you can get your colleagues to adopt the same labelling protocol. Once your team uses this approach, it will enables enable you to prioritise the action e-mails by just looking at your Inbox.

2. Practice the ART of email

Action. If you need to take action – do it immediately – or, schedule an appointment with yourself in your calendar to complete the action.

Reply. If the sender requires a reply, don’t leave the e-mail and come back to it later. Take a moment to compose your answer. Do it now! You have already devoted time to read the e-mail; you’ll waste time if you return to it later and re-read it before typing your reply. Once you’ve started you should finish . . .”

Trash. Become friends with the delete key and clear out the unnecessary clutter.

3. Cut down on your Copying!
Ask yourself. Is there any real value in all those e-mails that you receive as a “cc” copied recipient? People often neglect to give proper consideration to their inclusion of several “copied people” on a single message.
Cut down on your copying and ask others to do the same.

4. Hit the Mute Button
Mute your speaker. Avoid the distraction of flicking from your current task to read the latest e-mail – just because you heard the familiar mail delivery chime! Make sure that your Smartphone is not sitting on your desk and pinging or vibrating each time you receive an e-mail

5. Manage
Expectations In Outlook or in any other Calendar system, you can set an auto out-of-office message to manage people’s expectations about your ability to respond. For example, if you have a heavy day ahead, write and set an auto-respond message to let people know that you are going to struggle to deal with an e-mail that day. Apologise for the fact that you won’t be able to respond as quickly as usual. Request that people phone you for any genuinely urgent matters that need to be dealt with within the same day.

6. Switch Off
This may sound bold, but try to quit your Mail application for a couple of hours per day. Schedule a quality or golden period of one or two hours when you will focus on your key goals for the day. If you were in a meeting, you would not be able to respond to your e-mail. So, why not give yourself the same break from e-mail while you’re completing your important goals for the day?

7. E-mail Contract
Agree on a protocol with colleagues. For example, you will agree with peers and line manager that you’ll respond between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm and not on weekends. This can “excuse” you from dipping in to see if there’s a message during these hours. Agree that urgent matters outside these “no-fly zones”, should come as a Txt message alerting you to an e-mail if there’s a more complex and urgent matter.

8. The 15 Word Burst
For quick messages, condense them into 15 words in the e-mail subject line. Don’t type anything in the message body.
By dropping a one-liner with your question, this will save you time and encourage the recipient to be brief with their answer.


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