I have so far given you 7 tips for writing emails:
- Have separate email addresses for social and business communication
- Make the subject line work for you. Think carefully about how you word it
- Be as brief as possible without losing necessary content
- Make reading your emails a pleasant experience
- Proof read the email before sending it
- Don’t use emails for contentious issues if possible. If it is necessary don’t be hasty – build in a cooling off period
- Respond to emails containing several topics either by numbering or ‘interlinearly’
Lets now turn to managing them.
8. When do you deal with emails?
Managing emails begins with self-discipline. Are you intentional about how you use your time or do you let life and emails come at you?
We all have times of the day when we are most productive. For some this is first thing in the day, for others it may be late in the evening. For many the period after lunch is a ‘down’ time. Plan to handle your routine emails – opening the inbox and answering those that are straightforward – at two points in the day that suit you best. Personally, I like to do it as the first task in the day to get them out of the way and respond to any overnight enquiries, and then later in the afternoon. By grouping them in this way you are taking control and are not letting them interrupt you as they arrive.
If there is one that needs significant attention and careful thought in responding this becomes a separate task to be planned into your day.
Don’t forget that emails are only a vehicle for communication, like the phone. The vehicle should not intrude and force itself upon you. It should not determine your priorities; what is contained in the email that does that.
Plan two times in the day when you will deal with emails
Turn off the ‘alert’ telling you when an email arrives. Leaving it ‘on’ is a distraction – anyone who sends you an email on whatever subject takes your attention away from what you are focussed on.
Next time we will conclude this series with some tips on filing and deleting emails.