Email is familiar. It’s comfortable. It’s easy to use. But it might just be
the biggest killer of time and productivity in the office today.

– Ryan Holmes

I bet emails are a huge source of information for you and they’re also the bane of your existence, aren’t they? If you think you’re struggling today, the bad news is it isn’t going to get any better. Research from E-Policy Institute reveals that email volume is growing at a rate of 66% a year.

So, if you’re looking for ways to save time, improving the way you control the emails you are receiving will have an immense impact on your time. Here are a few habits to improve your efficiency:

  • The Habit of Being Systematic: Going through emails in order is a more time efficient method than skipping back and forth randomly opening emails that may spark your interest or curiosity.
  • Don’t Open—Delete: Any unwanted emails should be deleted without ever opening them. That is except for the one’s coming from me, of course.
  • Reduce Email Interruptions: Research shows that responding to emails four times a day is the most efficient and effective policy you can have. If that doesn’t work in your corporate culture, decide what is appropriate for you and stick to it. Batching your email reading is a time saver.
  • Educate Your Senders: Let them know your wishes, you might say “keep on sending me more of this type of information;” “please don’t copy me on this type of information;” or “please send this type of information to my assistant or Joe Blow or Susie Q.”
  • Lengthen Email Notifications: Changing your email notification to four times a day or every hour or every 45 minutest to reduce the constant interruptions as your eyes shift to glance at the notifications crossing your screen. This is no small matter, when studies show that for every email intrusion, it takes at a minimum 64 seconds to recover your train of thought.
  • Read It Through!: Research out of the University of Michigan found that productivity dropped as much as 40% when subjects tried to do two or more things at once. Flipping your attention from one activity to another creates errors and wasted time.

Intel, the computer chip company, has estimated that email overload can cost large companies as much as one billion dollars a year in lost employee productivity. Can you see how big this issue is in your work life?  That’s why I hope you’ll take this on because along with the immense time savings you gain, your stress levels will be reduced and your production levels will increase.

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