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 🙂