THURSDAY THOUGHTS! - E-Mail - How do you decrease your response times - Lesson 2

Posted by | July 26, 2012 | Thursday Thoughts | No Comments

Week 2 then of our “How do you control your e-mail” series.

How did you do with the Week 1 approach?  I do hope you used it and kept practicing it throughout the week.  Now we shall look at:

  • Empty your in box – everything should have its own place, and the inbox is not it!
  • Decreasing  your response time – The One Minute Rule
  • Craft effective messages
  • Highlight Messages sent directly to you
  • Use disposable e-mail addresses
  • Master message search
  • Future-proof your e-mail address
  • Consolidate multiple e-mail addresses
  • Script and automate repetitive replies
  • Filter low priority messages

We don’t emerge from the womb with any natural talent for handling hundreds of e-mails.  We have to pick it up along the way, so, at the start of this series, the aim was to get fiddling around with e-mails down to about 30 minutes a day.  Anything more than that is usually waste activity.  To do that will require a menu of handling approaches – there is no magic wand to the problem that is e-mail volume!

” How do you decrease your response time?”

The One Minute Rule features heavily this week. If a message takes less than one minute to process, do it on the spot.

That doesn’t sound like much time so it is perfect for batch processing.  Whats batch processing?  Well, we do it in other areas all the time.  Think about Facebook, Twitter and RSS feeds.  We keep an eye on the flow in those channels easily, so lets use that technique for our e-mail in box too.  The One Minute Rule is perfect for processing all those “Thankyou”, ‘Lets discuss”, “sounds good’ kinda messages.  You’d be amazed how many messages you can delete or file in the “hold” file you set up last week in a batch of, say, 10 minutes.  Schedule 2 or 3 batches of 10 minutes with your in box each day – don’t be a slave to the ping every time a new mail arrives – in fact, turn it off!

Touch a message once and commit to taking action there and then. There and then action is:

  • delete it
  • respond immediately
  • file in either the “hold” for response in next day (urgent) or in “follow-up” for response in next few days (Important)
  • archive it and make a phone call by way of action – this is usually if it’s too large a job to do there and then.  The phone call sets up the boundaries of the task with a who, what, where, when, how conversation with the sender. Handling e-mail efficiently means you really do have to talk to colleagues much more than you do now!!!

Good luck with this week’s technique and as always, let us know  how it goes.  But above all, do it as well as Week 1’s approach which should, by now, be second nature 🙂

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Sharon Davidson
Organisational development professional specialising in personal, team and whole organisation improvement. Full range of OD tools and techniques available including: Belbin team role analysis; learning style inventories; 360 degree feedback; cultural assessments; personality psychometrics; strategic planning and workshop facilitation. (This list is not exhaustive!)

Improvement is everyone's concern: +44 1550 720902 will start that process today.

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  • Peggy Edwards says:

    I have been doing this all week and it works well, if I can’t see-and-treat then it gets filed. Still nothing in the in box. I am off now for over a week so the test will be when I go back to work and I have a couple of hundred to wade through.

  • Aresko says:

    Good luck – I’ve implemented both lessons 1 and 2 and feel much more relaxed about it all. Agree, it works really well.

  • Alison Crawford says:

    I now have my inbox down to one screen, and rules sipohoning off the emails with minutes and meeting papers to a ‘read only’ folder. Somehome I feel as if I have less work to do 🙂

  • Aresko says:

    Its amazing isn’t it? The simple things often work the best. So wonderful for reducing the stress levels! Keep going!!

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