Today I’ll be sharing one very simple tip I learnt early on in my career, about how to stay on top of work your load and increase productivity. Now when I do reveal it, and I know you’re currently shaking with suspense, you’ll be thinking ‘Really?! That’s it?’ but trust me, it works.
On average, we spend 2.5 hours a day dealing with email. I personally get around 100 emails per day, that’s disregarding all of the emails that I’ve already filtered out which are no use to me (tip number 2 perhaps). My lesser productive self would have let all of those emails build up, finding myself muttering ‘I’ll see to that later’ (AKA never).
Nowadays, if you catch me with 1 email in my inbox I must be having an off day. That may sound bizarre, so let me explain…
For each email that comes into my inbox, I ask myself one simple question (in my head that is, to avoid taking Nqobiles’ crown as that guy in the office who talks to himself):
Do I need to do anything off of the back of this email?
If the answer to that question is no, then archive it, why do I still need it in my inbox? Goodbye, gone.
If the answer to that question is yes then deal with it there and then. Once you’ve dealt with it then archive it, why do I still need it in my inbox? Goodbye, gone. If however, you cannot deal with it straight away as there are other things that take precedence then star/flag it and then archive it. I personally take 5 minutes at the end of each day to check my starred/flagged inbox items to make sure I don’t leave something hanging.
I know some of you reading this will just ignore it and that’s fine as everyone works differently but this is something which significantly improved my productivity levels.
For those of you who would actually like to adopt this method, how do you start?! I started by dealing with my most recent emails, say the first 50 and then I took the plunge, archived everything and never looked back!
And remember, ‘Archive’ is not the same as ‘Delete’ – Archived emails are still accessible!