As time consuming as email can be, it's essential for any business environment. This form of communication is a tool for sharing information and assigning tasks. However, all those electronic messages can be overwhelming, with a 2016 Adobe survey finding 45 percent of respondents citing the need for a "detox" from email. So how do you organize your inbox to have more time to focus on leading your team?
Unsubscribe from unwanted marketing communications
You gave a company your email address to download a whitepaper, and now the promotional emails come in daily. If you no longer find those messages useful, unsubscribe. This advice applies to businesses reaching out to schedule a demo for new project management software and sales advertisements from your favorite retailers. If you declutter your inbox in this manner, you gain more visibility for messages that matter.
Get to know your inbox tools
Whether you're a Gmail or Outlook user, each platform comes with built-in tools so you can spend less time filing away messages. Gmail, for instance, allows you to organize your inbox in a few ways.
One feature allows you to sort your incoming messages. You can update your inbox so unread, important or other types of correspondence appear at the top. Plus, by marking or unmarking certain threads as important, Gmail can use information from selected emails to predict which new communications should also be marked.
To reduce your distractions from incoming messages, consider disabling your desktop notifications. Although the Adobe data showed nearly 50 percent of respondents expected an email response within an hour, prioritize tasks and communications to determine which items need an answer now and which ones can wait.
"Consider disabling your desktop email notifications."
Book time to read emails
Another way to keep email from infringing on your time with staff is to set aside slots on your calendar to check your messages. Outside of these scheduled times, close your email to devote your attention to other duties.
Prepare to take action
Once you're in one of your email periods, commit to responding to each message with answers and solutions. If you just browse subject lines, marking and unmarking communications to process later, you won't reach the promised land that is a zero inbox.
Don't worry if you don't have an answer yet. Reply to let the sender know you've seen the message and have updated your to-do list to work out solutions. Additionally, give a clear timeline for when you'll respond.
Don't stress over a zero inbox
Leadership roles mean more emails, and the possibility of a zero inbox may drift farther away each day. If you let the goal consume you, you may spend less time supporting and developing your staff. Whatever workflow you use, ensure you remain flexible.
After you've mastered email, gather more insights from ProSolutions Training' online childcare courses and online social services training.