Is your unending list of emails driving you crazy? You’re not alone. Email is extraordinarily time-consuming for most of us. When we could be engaging in more productive work, email is always there, threatening to derail us. Pop-up notifications make email even harder to ignore. Read more to learn how to master your email.
Email is Everywhere
Even with the rise of mobile messaging, email use hasn’t slowed down. In 2019, 3.9 billion people worldwide were email users, and that number is projected to increase to 4.48 billion by 2024. Email is here to stay.
Email is Almost Always Infuriating
It’s difficult to convey emotion in email, and for that reason, it’s easy (and common) to misinterpret how the sender is “saying” what they’re saying. Then you’re either angry with the sender or spending time trying to analyze what they meant by it. Either way, you’re stuck, as it prevents you from effectively moving on to your next order of business.
Email is an enormous time-waster, beating out meetings and commuting in the workday. According to Forbes, the average office worker spends 2.5 hours a day reading and responding to an average of 200 emails. Approximately 144 of those emails, by the way (mostly CCs and BCCs), don’t even pertain to your job. This calculates out to 10 years spent on useless emails, or 23% of a 45-year career.
Making Your Time Count
Every email you read requires your energy. Getting on top of your email will free your energy. There are three steps to achieving this: capture, analyze, and resolve. Here are some preliminary steps to take before capture-analyze-resolve:
Turn off Your Email
Establish how often you need to be in your email application. Do you really have to have it up 24/7? When you’re not actively using email, close it.
Designate a place for emails that require action (action location). This could be a folder, starred items in Gmail or another method of your choice.
Use Do It, Delegate It, or Dump It
Do it if you can resolve it in two minutes or less. Dump it if it’s garbage. Delegate it to the action location above (folder, starred, important, etc.).
Set up a time during the day to review email. This should be a time when your focus is at its sharpest.
Capture, Analyze, Resolve to master your email
Capture, analyze, resolve is a method of managing information that you can apply to email. Here’s a little bit more about each step.
The first step, capture, is about how you gather information. It’s critical to have only one capture location. For email, your capture location would be the folder, starred Gmail items, etc. Having one area for your action items will give you a sense of control that you’ve likely lacked.
Analyze means you set aside a time, preferably daily, to go through your captures. You should pick a time of the day when you’re optimally focused. You prioritize items that require your action and those that you can file into a permanent location.
Finally, resolve occurs when your analysis is complete. This is where your calendar or task list comes in. You place the items you’ve determined require action on your calendar or list. Things you can’t resolve at the time will stay in your captures for the next day’s analysis.
Emails frequently require more than one review to resolve. If they need another review they remain in the capture location until they are deleted or sent to a folder or other storage location.
Emails can quickly become overwhelming. Don’t let the emails control you; you control the emails with capture-analyze-resolve. If you’d like to master email, contact us for more information.