Email communication tends to dominate the working life of most organisations. From morning until night, messages arrive, replies are demanded and "staying on top of your inbox" becomes a daily battle.
While less intrusive than a phone call or face-to-face meeting, it can feel like the relentless barrage of messages hitting your inbox is actually reducing your productivity, rather than enabling it. However, when it comes to finding the best email habits, they seems to be plenty of conflicting advice.
Which piece of advice would you take when it comes to the following "best email habits"?
Email In The Morning
1) Focus on clearing your inbox first thing in the morning - send replies and make a note of actions to set yourself up for the day.
2) Avoid your inbox for the first few hours of the day and put your morning energy into getting some important tasks ticked off your list.
Speed Of Reply
1) Be someone who can be relied upon to respond promptly. If you know the answer, send a quick reply as soon as you have read the message. If you don't, reply anyway to say when you will get back to them.
2) Take your time. Email can create a false sense or urgency which increases stress levels. If someone needs a immediate response, they can call you.
1) If it is on your "to-do" list leave it in your inbox until it has been done - email yourself notes and reminders too.
2) Keep your inbox clear. If an email contains a task that cannot be immediately dealt with, add the task to a task list (written or electronic) and file the email.
Confused yet? Don't blame you.
The key to managing your inbox, rather than becoming its slave, is to find the habits that suit YOU best. You are the best judge of your working style, your clients needs and expectations, and the work / life balance you would like achieve. So establish some email habits that contribute to your productivity, not drain it.
To Be Avoided
While you do that, please note that these email habits from Lifehack are indisputably to be avoided at all costs.