This is the third and final part of our feature: How to manage email overload. We show you how to get organised in 21 days using a practiced and proven method.
Twenty-one days is all it takes to get organised. That’s how long it takes to form a habit.
In 2010, the typical corporate user sends and receives about 110 messages daily. Roughly 18% of emails received is spam, comprising both actual spam and “graymail” (i.e. unwanted newsletters, alerts, etc.) – The Radicati Group
Table of Contents
Get Organised in 21 Days
Do you want to get on top of your email? If so, you’ve come to the right place. In just 21 days — that’s how long it takes to make a habit — you can learn to take control and get organised! If you’ve just landed here you may like to read part 1 first.
Writing clear and meaningful messages will help to cut the amount of email you receive. Really. Think of the times you had to reply to a message because you were unclear about expectations or a deadline wasn’t stated.
Use Sally McGhee’s PASS model to write purposeful messages:
- Purpose – Make the purpose clear. Keep messages clear and to the point,
- Action – State the action you are requesting and when you want it fulfilled,
- Supporting documents – Include or refer to supporting documentation, and
- Subject – Write an effective subject line.
16. Tidy Subjects
When sending a message use the subject line to make it clear what you want from your communication.
Moreover, only include people in the To line if they must complete an action or the topic relates directly to their work.
I have written How to Manage Email Overload for Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Outlook users since this is widely used in the business environment.
However, the instructions that follow will help you get organised whatever email software you use.
Use the subject line to describe the topic and the action or response required. If you’re sending a message to tell people about something make this clear. If you want them to read a document simply say that!
17. Carbon Copy
Do you really need to include someone in the CC field? When you do this you often create an unnecessary distraction for someone. The same sort of distraction you get on a daily basis (which is why I suggested you colour coded messages when your name appears in the CC line.) Nine times out of ten these messages are time wasters.
Think very carefully when including people in the CC line and never use Reply (to all) without reviewing and amending the CC list first.
18. Learn to Say No
We are all busy. We have a job to do. Our job is defined by our objectives.
Yet we often receive messages asking us to help out or do something that isn’t our responsibility. If these messages relate to an objective deal with them as described in Let’s Get Sorted. If not, say no. Say that you’re unable to help.
19. Changing Behaviour
Over the past three weeks I’ve briefly described how you can take control of your inbox and become more productive. It takes as little as 21 days to make a habit. Hopefully you’re reaping the benefits of a clear inbox now and know how to avoid email overload.
What’s more, people will notice that you’re organised, get things done on time, and know what’s really important.
Enjoy Your Inbox!
That’s it, we’re done. You’re in control of your Inbox.
You can push aside distractions with ease and focus your attention on what’s important to you and to your business. There’s no more dreading an Inbox that’s overflowing. No more time-wasting.
To recap, How to Manage Email Overload: Get Organised in 21 Days includes the following lessons:
- Day 1. Can’t see the wood for the trees?
- Day 2. Last in, first out
- Day 3. Let’s get sorted
- Day 4. Make Life Easier
- Day 5. Clear the rest of your Inbox
- Day 8. Staying at Zero
- Day 9. Actions Folder
- Day 10. Use Your Calendar
- Day 11. Housekeeping Tips
- Day 12. Weekly Review
- Day 15. PASS
- Day 16. Tidy Subjects
- Day 17. Carbon Copy
- Day 18. Learn to Say No
- Day 19. Changing Behaviour
Creative Commons image courtesy Greg Peverill-Conti.