1. Designate a specific time for checking email.
Check to see if you’re performing any (or all) of the following first:
Your email client is available 24/7.
In an hour, you check your inbox many times by switching tabs.
Your personal phone is linked to your business email, and notifications are turned on.
Your office door is open, and you frequently have coworkers enter to remark, “Hey, I just sent you an email,” minutes after they send it.
It’s time to freshen up your everyday schedule.
Set aside some time each day to send and respond to emails. Your work schedule, email type, and volume will determine the optimal times to set aside for inbox management.
Many organised and busy professionals advise and follow the twice-daily rule.
This entails scheduling particular times each day and keeping them. For instance, you could only spend one hour each time checking your emails between the hours of 8 AM and 3 PM. If you get a lot of emails every day, you might want to set up an automated reply that informs your coworkers when their email will be read:
I currently check my email twice a day at 8 AM and 3 PM AEST due to my increasing workload. Please call me at XXXX XXX XXX if your situation is actually urgent.
I don’t advise implementing automatic responses like the one in the previous example if your email is also used for customer interactions. See more below about this.
Tim Ferris also recommended this strategy; you can read his auto-response emails here. Although I don’t personally agree with his example of only reading his emails once a week, the auto-response technique can save you a tonne of time and hassle when implemented properly.
Depending on the nature of employment, there are some things that simply cannot wait until your twice daily email window. But just because your workflow can’t function with two set times each day doesn’t imply you can’t properly manage your inbox. If you don’t have the luxury of adhering to the twice-daily guideline, allocate a short period of time each hour to your inbox.
I’ve started including this routine in my workday. By preventing burnout and essentially recharging, individuals who take more frequent breaks while studying (or working) have higher productivity. According to studies, it’s best to take a break every 50 minutes or so.
As a result, I would enter “intense mode” for 45 minutes at a time throughout a typical workday. After that, I would check, send, and reply to emails for 10 minutes. I would use the last five minutes of the hour to use the restroom, get some water, or stretch.
For me, this email monitoring technique is fantastic for two reasons.
1. I can usually answer to the emails I get fast because of their nature.
2. The fact that the cycle restarts every hour makes it easier for me to focus right away.
The once-an-hour strategy can be employed by private practise owners who handle client work in addition to company activities throughout extended periods of administrative work (and not during back-to-back client appointments).
2. In your auto-response, include resources.
We discussed how to let your coworkers know when you will be checking your email using the auto-response feature of your email agent in the previous section. Owners of private practises who frequently connect with clients via the same email address might find this problematic.
In truth, some individuals simply don’t like auto-responses. Auto-responses are typically perceived as being indifferent, uncaring, or downright haughty.
That doesn’t mean that private practise owners who wish to give their communications a more personal touch shouldn’t use auto-responses. Auto-replies actually have the potential to boost productivity and improve customer service. Just how you use it matters!
Give helpful information rather than only stating that “I’m unavailable at” or “I only check emails at.” Adding value is the best method to enhance consumer engagement. So why not provide them with something to work with (or your colleagues)?
Give a FAQs section.
Do you frequently receive the same kinds of queries? Include them in your auto-responses as a simple method to respond to your senders. Your clients or team members can get answers right away instead of having to wait for you to check and write a reply to the email.
Here is an illustration of how you might use it:
“I appreciate your email. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
Here are some of our most often asked questions in case you need a quick response to any of them in the interim.
Do I need a doctor’s reference in order to schedule an appointment?
Give references to helpful resources.
Including links to resources on your website is another method to use auto-responses to successfully manage your inbox. (Hint: If you get similar queries every day, think about making a web page that answers them.)
This may be demonstrated by something like this:
I appreciate you getting in contact.
We thought you might be interested in some of the information we put together to assist you get more out of our services before we can answer to your letter.
commonly asked questions chart
Online appointment scheduling
The new customer intake form must be completed.
By decreasing the time spent trying to come up with a brilliant response, these auto-responses can boost your productivity if used properly. Sometimes, your customers or team members will send you a “don’t worry about it” follow-up email to let you know that your auto-response helped them resolve their problems. Even if they don’t, you can still approach the email knowing that they were given specific details to work with.
3. Make templates for emails.
In keeping with the preceding idea, you can make email templates to assist in properly managing your inbox. You probably still react to all of your clients’ emails even if you utilise auto-responses. Then, create email templates based on various topics to save a tonne of time.
Most email agents include choices for templates. Here are instructions on how to create email templates in Mac OS Mail, Gmail, and Outlook.
I’ve listed three categories of templates below.
Templates developed using your FAQs
Create an email template for your commonly asked questions even if you already have a help page on your website with similar information. Put information particular to the email in the placeholders, and presto! Your time spent writing, formatting, and proofreading has just been cut by ten minutes.
Templates for making and confirming appointments
How long does it take to email someone to set up a meeting or appointment? After writing the email, you must confirm the time, date, and place using your calendar. Have a go-to response to save yourself the hassle! Create templates for booking appointments and events, accepting appointments, and confirming and notifying people of impending events.
Thank you note samples
Not every email is a request for action. Sometimes all you want to do is return a colleague’s or a supplier’s call to express your gratitude. Create a thank-you template if your line of business necessitates a lot of this kind of correspondence. It ought to allow for some personalization (like a personalised greeting or a sentence or two about their specific circumstances).
Your practise management software, or another more secure method of communication, is probably how you send thank-you notes to doctors or other referral sources. Most systems let you create templates, so take the time to create recommendation letter and thank-you letter templates that are appropriate for your business.
4. Delete spam and unsubscribe from commercial emails.
Contrary to the aforementioned suggestions, the simplest method you can put into practise right away is deleting emails you never read. If they are instructional, marketing emails and newsletters can truly improve your day. However, if you don’t read them, they are useless.
It’s time to organise your subscriptions if you discover that you must constantly sift through tens of emails each day to find the ones that aren’t promotional. When you receive spam or marketing emails that you don’t read, open the email, scroll down to the footer, and click “Unsubscribe.” Once you’ve repeated this a few times, you’ll start to see your inbox becoming less cluttered.
Filter your incoming emails by sender and place them in a different folder if you’d like to keep receiving marketing communications. Any emails that you don’t need to respond to should go in this folder. Set up a specific amount of time each week to look through them once this has been organised.
5. Sort and organise your email correspondence.
Using folders is one of the finest ways to manage your email effectively, as was noted in the paragraph above. Put all of your incoming emails in the appropriate folders to organise them, making it easier to find all of the correspondence on a given topic by just clicking the folder icon.
Depending on your needs, there are a few various ways to accomplish this.
automatic sender filtering
You can do this with individual persons, similar to how you can separate marketing emails into their own folder. Make a folder, for instance, for each of the sender types listed below:
email inquiries made online (from your website)
automatic recipient filtering
In general, you don’t have to reply to emails that you were CC’d into. They are not a priority as a result. Set up a filter so that emails that you were copied in automatically go into a different “CC” or “BCC” folder to distinguish them from emails for which you were the primary recipient.
Filter manually by project.
If you are juggling multiple projects, organise your emails by project. For instance, you might be working on a website redesign, expansion initiatives, or relocating your business. As emails arrive, merely drag and drop them into the project-specific folder you made.
Apply a manual deadline filter.
Create several folders based on due dates if you like to work on a timeline basis. Make folders for projects that are due tomorrow, next week, next month, and ongoing projects, for instance. Entering emails are as simple as dragging and dropping them into the appropriate folders. After that, you’ll be able to prioritise each folder by urgency.
6. Adhere to the two-minute rule.
This one is quite easy. Do it right now if it takes less than two minutes to complete.
Avoid allowing the email to remain in your inbox and cause you anxiety for the ensuing several hours. Just finish it, respond, and archive it! Your productivity will soar as a result, and you’ll have less unread emails overall.
7. Modify the practice’s culture.
Email management may require a more substantial intervention in private clinics with a large crew. Set up a meeting to discuss the best communication channels for the team if you have trouble efficiently managing your inbox and you see that your team members do too.
Participate everyone on your team and find out how email overload is affecting their ability to be productive. From there, you may have an honest discussion about the adjustments your practice’s email culture needs to make.
Setting boundaries for your team and adhering to your communication policies would often be required for this.
Here are some guidelines to remember:
Include in the email the Five Ws and How.
Email correspondence can be kept to a minimal rather than the customary back and forth by always remembering to include the who, what, where, when, why, and how.
Only occasionally use the “high priority” tag or the phrase “urgent.”
Even emails labelled as urgent occasionally lack urgency. In order to respond to urgent emails, the recipient is likely to put everything else on hold. This might disrupt their workflow and take up time, especially if the email wasn’t actually urgent. Give your staff some parameters around what qualifies as urgent.
Before clicking “reply all,” stop and think.
Even if the initial email was sent to five persons, not all of them require a response. Don’t add them if not everyone will gain something from seeing the response.
Write topic lines that are precise and brief.
Offer your staff a simple format that will enable them to understand the content without having to read the entire email. With this, you may manually organise emails into several folders. For instance, write “[Due 3 days] Please provide me FY18/19 one-page marketing strategy” in the subject line.
You’ll be able to manage your email properly in no time with the help of a few principles and the best method for you. It could take some time to get these strategies in place at first. But keep in mind that 28% of a typical work week is spent on emails whenever you start to get tired of it. Set yourself apart from the tedious everyday duties by developing productive work habits!