A recent article worth reading states that the average user sent and received 110 emails per day and that was expect to rise at a rate of about 13 precent per year.
What it highlights is that most people are not the boss of their inbox. They let others flood it with irrelevant and unproductive information. They allow emails to accumulate in the default location (typically the inbox) and they fail to perform any sort of maintenance.
The price of this? Simple. Frustration, because they find actually getting their job done harder and harder amongst the flood of email. Interestingly, employees are rewarded for reading and storing emails, they are rewarded on actually processing emails and getting work done. Sadly, many employees spend a large part of their days dealing with emails.
There is no doubt that email is an essential business communications tool but it can also be a major source of distraction. For example, the first thing people do when they arrive at work is open their emails and read the most recent items. Typically, they then start working on these latest items rather than what they may have had already planning period to opening their inbox.
Such habits result in a very fragmented work day and this usually translates to reduced productivity which really doesn’t help getting things done. If you feel you are not being as productive as you could be because of your emails take control of your index by:
– Creating rules to route non urgent emails away from your inbox
– Each time you touch an email either deal with it, delete it or archive. Don’t simply leave it un-actioned.
– Try and keep your inbox empty. This means moving emails you need to other locations but away from the main point of entry. You’ll be surprised how much less stressful an empty inbox can be.The more productive you are the fewer emails you should have in your inbox, not the converse.
– Shut off emails for a period of time everyday. Pick a time and during that time shut down you email program so you can concentrate on getting things done. As you find this being more successful, extend this time and only process emails during certain period of the day.
There are plenty of strategies for dealing with the flood of emails. The most important of these is simply to take action to deal with information overload.