How To Reduce Your Email

How much time do you spend on email?

As someone who spends a lot of time online (and I’m sure most of you do too), I get a lot (and I mean, a LOT) of email. I remember when there were times I spent nearly a few hours just going through my email instead of going through my to-do list and doing something productive for the day.

After I was done, I would be so mentally tired from reading all the emails that I couldn’t manage to focus properly on doing my work.

Research has proven that the average office employee spends 1/3 of his or her day reading and replying emails instead of doing actual work. Email was invented with the purpose of improving communication and efficiency, but more often than not, it becomes a major time-waster.

Conduct a mass un-subscription of email from sites you never read

These include spam mail, shopping sites, information sites, niche sites, newsletters, or any similar sort. You subscribe to these emails after chancing upon their websites, but you find that you never really open them, so it ends up becoming a nuisance.

The way to do this is either to click the unsubscribe button at the bottom of the email one by one, or alternatively you can use a mass unsubscribe tool. Manually unsubscribing the emails one by one can be troublesome, while the unsubscribe tools generally do a pretty good job.

Another method is to create a “burner email”, essentially a fake email you created, for input to websites that require your email to access their site. This is particularly useful if you do not wish to give them your real email.

Set notifications from social media sites to off

First of all, you do not require an email notification of every time someone on Facebook “likes” your post, or someone “retweets” your tweet.

It’s not necessary as you get notifications every time you enter the website anyway, so it just becomes annoying when you see emails like this.

Such email notifications are just distractions to your life, so it’s best to just go turn off all notifications to your email.

Prevent open-ended emails

When you email someone, a good rule of thumb is to always write an email that doesn’t end up with an open-ended question. What the open-ended question proposes, is that it will lead to MORE emails from the other party.

What you need to do is to be leading the email thread. Make sure when you reply the other party; it doesn’t elicit an open-ended response.

Lets say someone is trying to set an appointment with you. Your email should be similar to “I’m free on the upcoming Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from the time period of 1pm to 3pm. Which day and what time will work well for you?”

The end result is that they respond with their available date and time. That’s the end of conversation.

Also, do not CC or include anyone else in the email thread. Adding another person is basically saying you’re waiting for their reply too. The rule of thumb is to only add people who NEED to be in the email.

Responding To Emails

You should allocate specific times within a day just to check and reply emails. Do not check your email just as the notification arrives, as it will add up to be very time consuming and you will find yourself constantly getting side-tracked from your work.

Set up a timing of about 15 to 20 minutes in the morning, or before you go to bed, and really just focus and concentrate on checking your email. You will find that you will be able to process your email much faster when you are 100% focused on the task at hand.

Don’t worry too much about receiving IMPORTANT and URGENT emails. If the emails are really that important or urgent, the sender will definitely find another way to contact you (like phone calling) if he doesn’t get his reply. The truth is, most emails are not that important as they seem, and they can wait a few hours before getting a reply.