Most of us don’t just rely on email, we are shackled to it.
Email overload has been a growing problem in recent years and has only been made worse by remote working. Instead of colleagues popping over to your desk to ask a quick question, they are now having to send emails. For the more experienced and knowledgeable employees within an organisation, this can cause a huge new influx of daily emails that they never had before and lead to email overload.
Email overload can be defined as feeling stress and anxiety as a result of an extremely full email inbox consisting of mainly unanswered emails. Wouldn’t it be good if we could call spend a little less time responding, filing and deleting an endless stream of emails?
Here are 10 ways to help reduce the number of emails filling up in your inbox.
1. Understand your own email habits. Do you like to reply to emails after you receive them? Or do you store them all up to reply in bulk? Finding out the way that you prefer to use your emails will help you to put a plan in place.
2. Add a line to your signature saying that you only check email before 9 am and after 4pm and for anything urgent please call instead.
3. Update your account settings to send unwanted email to junk, you can then go through and bulk delete when you have time
4. During exceptionally busy period you can write an out of office with a message along the lines of ‘Thank you for your email, I am currently working towards a 72 hour reply timeframe, if your email is urgent please call me using the number in my email signature”. This will help to manage expectations from senders and prevent them following up too soon.
5. Politely reply to messages that are not business critical explaining that the sender’s message was not relevant to you.
6. In the subject bar of all emails you send add either PLEASE REPLY or NO REPLY NECESSARY, it might catch on.
7. Set aside some protected time each day to work through your emails.
8. Use instant messages for short answers; switch to phone if a conversation lasts more than three minutes.
9. Over 80% of emails sent every day are unsolicited or spam. To prevent these emails clogging up your inbox ensure that you remember to block or unsubscribe from these emails
10. Send less and never subscribe. Research suggests that incoming mail rises and falls in relation to outgoing mail, the exception being subscribed messages that inevitably rise over time as the address is shared.