Five Ways to Improve the Way You Use Email

Email has forever changed the way we communicate inside and outside of the workplace. Email has replaced meetings, phone calls, and even the dreadful rejection letter. While there are countless benefits to using email, it comes with its fair share of disadvantages, too. It’s distracting, overwhelming, and at times, even unnecessary.

We can’t completely do away with email, and honestly, who would want to? It has too many advantages to ignore. We can, however, improve our relationship with the digital communication tool and use it to our advantage. Below are five ways to improve the way you use email.

Turn off notifications

Like with social media, turning off your email notifications can save your time, energy, and a lot of stress. Notifications were created to instill urgency – see this post now, open this email now, take action now. When you stop to think about it, how many of your day-to-day emails require your immediate attention. Probably not many.

So, turn off your notifications and see how your relationship with email instantly improves.

Follow a two-minute rule

When it comes to my master to-do list, I like to follow a two-minute rule. This means that if a task takes two minutes or less to complete, I don’t bother writing it down. I do it then and there. Try doing the same with email. Many times, an email only requires a simple yes, no, or any other short answer.

Whenever this is the case, try addressing the email at the moment and instantly cross off a to-do item.

Turn your email into a checklist

When it comes to your work email, it oftentimes translates easily into a to-do list. That’s because most emails require some sort of task from you. Set aside time to go through your inbox and add that specific task or ask into a master checklist. This will help keep you accountable and on track to fulfill all your incoming tasks.

Schedule email time

Too many of us let email run our world. We stop dead in our tracks when a new email, assignment, or notification comes in. If you follow the first tip and turn off your notifications, you’re already halfway to email management success. The next step is to schedule email time throughout the day. For me, I like to check my email and create a to-do list the first 30-minutes of the day, unless something is urgent, I move on to my most pressing assignment.

Adding this time to your schedule can help keep you on track and focused on your most important task.

Make a call

Emails are a great way to start, track, and revisit a conversation. I love that I can search for emails by using keywords, dates, and names. While emails can help increase productivity, sometimes confusion can take a toll on it. When things get confusing or you can’t seem to make sense of an email, pick up the phone instead. You’d be surprised how much more productive you can be with a simple 5-minute conversation.

Email isn’t going anywhere, and neither is the need to effectively use it every single day. Improving and mastering your email management skills is crucial to your communication success.