Efficient E-Mail

Submitted by SharpMan Editorial Team on Sunday 10th October 2010
In this article
  • How to manage e-mail.
  • How to minimize time spent on e-mail.
  • How to reduce junk e-mail.

Electronic mail. Perhaps the greatest thing to ever happen to goofing off at work. Who needs to leave their desk for a coffee break when most SharpMen receive over 50 e-mails during the average workday? The problem? E-mails eat more time than you realize. Assuming you spend three minutes opening, reading and responding to the average e-mail, that’s two and a half hours per day. And you expect to be billable? Throw in a few phone calls, a lunch break and time to flirt with that woman you keep seeing in the elevator, and there isn’t a whole lot left.

Learn how to control this electronic correspondence glut by managing your e-mail efficiently. But work’s boring, you say? Just want to goof off at work? Refer to Office Toys for the "Productive, New Y2K You." For the more ambitious among you, read on:

Step One: Prioritize. Read e-mails from your boss and clients first. Many e-mail programs allow senders to flag their e-mail with an "urgent" priority code. Unless you know the sender flags all of his e-mails this way, read these after communications from your boss and clients.

Set up e-mail folders in your inbox. Transfer all boss and client e-mails into these sub-folders for quick access. You can also set up folders for mail from lists or important social contacts.

Skip your friends’ e-mails until lunch or a lull. Ignore anything that looks like a joke or a forwarded story and ask friends and colleagues to send only the very funniest ones, if any. Some e-mail programs allow you to screen out e-mails that have the word "money," "pornography" and many other words that indicate an unwanted solicitation. Avail yourself of this function.

Step Two: Turn off the bells. E-mails can become as disruptive as the telephone. Don’t allow your work to be constantly interrupted by the bell informing you that more e-mail has been deposited into your box. Turn this indicator off and schedule one or two times per day to read and answer e-mail. Try to control the urge to check e-mail whenever work becomes boring.

Step Three: Set up a free account. Many product registrations request an e-mail address to keep customers apprised of information and warranty timelines. These e-mails can quickly clog up your inbox. These lists are often sold to third parties, resulting in even more unwanted messages. Set up a free e-mail account through HotMail, NetZero or some other service for product registrations and the like. Check this box at home or during an off-time at work.

Step Four: Control your lists. Do you subscribe to lists and electronic newsletters? While many are informative or even work-related, even the best ones can generate a lot of messages that fill up your inbox. Be judicious in your selection of subscription lists, and use the "digest" function available through some lists.

Step Five: Do unto others. Avoid "cc:ing" your supervisors and work teams on every large document, unless these materials directly apply to them. Help your colleagues to control their e-mail glut by refraining from sending out jokes.

Once you begin properly managing e-mail, you’ll find that you’ve recaptured hours of time for work. Of course, with all the time you save, feel free to read SharpMan.com from your work desk . . .

This article last updated on Sunday 10th October 2010
As you like 'Efficient E-Mail' you may also like following Sharp Dating articles . . .

E-Mail Etiquette at Work

Ten years ago, most offices communicated by meetings or interoffice mail. Both allowed working SharpMen to maintain their schedules and consider their responses before

SharpTravel Voice Mail Road Rules

Whether you travel for work or fun, calls keep coming in back at the office. Got a client you’ve been trying to land calling while you’re sipping margaritas on the beach? Are

Time Management 101

You're on a tight deadline for a project proposal, but arrive at work to find a pile of messages that require return calls or e-mails. A colleague carrying a mug of coffee

47 Easy Ways to Improve Your Image at Work

Whether you're looking for a promotion or a little respect, consider improving your image around the workplace. You'll see results quickly when you employ the following

Making Your Long-Distance Relationship Work

There's no doubt that long-distance relationships are difficult. We've all heard the "it just won't work" warning. But with the recent increase in cyber-relationships, many

When Serious Illness Hits Work

While you may not be best buds, you do spend a lot of time around your coworkers — so much so that they become a bigger part of our lives than most of us realize. Whether you

Team Basics

These days it seems like wherever you work, whatever you do, you’re often asked to share the responsibility of your task with a team of co-workers and managers. This can be

How to Delegate at Work

These days, it seems as though "leveraging" is the name of the game. Despite how well you do your job, it is likely that your ability to move up may be largely affected by