Do you find that too much of your time is used up handling email? You are not alone. most managers complain that they get too much email. Fortunately, I have found a solution that actually works. It takes following these 3 simple principles:
Never read emails sent by a computer
About 20-40% of emails we get are not actually sent by humans (Like all those behavioral trigger emails we get after signing up for stuff). Let’s face it: these emails are designed to ensnare our attention so we get back inside someone’s funnel. That is why I completely ignore any email not written and sent by a human being. This cuts back quite a bit of attention time wasting.
Only read emails that were sent specifically to you
About 20% of the emails I get are sent to an entire group of people and most of the time they are not really interesting to me. I almost never read them. People send these and add my name to the list of recipients just so I am aware of what they are doing. Well, if they don’t bother to email me directly, I probably don’t need to be aware of what they are doing.
Check emails at 4:00 PM
There are many reasons why it’s a really good idea NOT to check your email before 4:00 PM. Here are just 2:
1. emails kill your positive energy
When you wake up in the morning you are usually full of energy. Your sub-conscious mind has been working all night on some problem and you are now ready to go. Emails are never about stuff that get you excited, they are usually about someone wanting your help to solve a problem. So what happens when you check emails in the morning? all your energy gets sucked out and you get sucked into solving other peoples problems. Most people check emails first thing in the morning, this KILLS the most productive hours of the day. It is far better to handle solving other peoples problems when you are least productive – after 4:00 PM.
2. By 4:00 PM that email is no longer important
Another reason why you should only check emails after 4:00 PM is that by then most problems solve themselves. I am not kidding. Try it and you will see.
What do you do if you have too many emails to check in one hour? Obviously you have a bigger problem to deal with but here is how to do it:
Set up an email alias
Setting up an alias email account is easy. An alias is simply another name for your email address. Hand out the alias email address to those people who’s emails are not critical to your day-to-day and keep the original email address for those close to you. Now all the non-critical emails pour in to a separate folder which you can check less frequently.