Technology Column: Optimize email for productivity

February 12, 2014 

Business emails are piling up in your inbox like it will never stop. This is where email handling tips come in handy if you want to get on top of the constant flood of messages. Managing your business email account can be challenging, especially when you need to accomplish many tasks in a limited time. Email management is a tough job, but it doesn't have to be impossible, especially if you follow our top five tips.

1. Turn off email notifications

Notification sounds are helpful in letting you know you have received a new email -- important or not. However, they can also be distracting. To avoid this, turn off new message notifications on both your Smartphone and computer, and schedule a convenient time to check and respond to your emails. This will not only improve your organizational skills, but will also give you peace of mind that you are focusing on tasks without neglecting your inbox.

2. Schedule when to check your emails

Unless your work demands replying to emails instantly, checking emails can be scheduled to a specific time of the day. You don't want to live in your inbox, just checking the emails can seriously harm your overall productivity. According to studies, a person takes about 64 seconds to recover from email interruption, a minute you could have spent on a more productive task.

According to research, the best time to check your email is the moment you log in to your computer at work, and before leaving at the end of the day. If you do this, create a to-do list for the rest of the day. Upon going through your messages, delete spam immediately and any emails that aren't of value, so

you'll have a clear idea of what needs to be prioritized.

3. Organize your inbox

The key to optimizing your email inbox is to choose one main purpose for it, and stick with it. For example, use your inbox only for high-priority messages and filter other emails into another folder. This can be done in the settings of almost every email service.

Another way to organize your inbox is to get rid of unnecessary messages such as newsletters, promo emails, advisories and spam messages -- what tech experts like to call Bacn. These kinds of email can mess up your inbox, so clean them up by using the tools in the settings, leaving only emails that are important and relevant to you and your business.

4. Connect with your smartphone

With the advent of smartphones, email handling has become rather convenient. You just need to install the email app on your mobile devices, register, and connect. Many business owners use smartphones to get in touch even when they're not in the office.

Checking your email on your smartphone can save a lot of time, largely because you can check and respond to emails even when you're out of the office. Furthermore, you can benefit from using your mobile to sort out high-priority emails before getting to work. As a result, you will be able to work more smoothly in the office.

5. Unsubscribe from newsletters you don't read

Newsletters and other email marketing messages can be useful. They might notify you of the latest information about your clients, colleagues and shops and may even provide you with your next sales lead. However, these kinds of emails can pile up so fast you don't even have the time to check this info out anyway.

If you have not read several newsletter issues for a while then it might be better to unsubscribe. This will reduce the number of emails in your inbox, giving you a better chance of managing it.

When you know how to manage emails effectively, you will be able to increase your productivity. Create a systematic process comfortable to you.

If you want to know more about how to manage emails effectively, call us today and we'll offer you solutions to add to our tips.

David Spire, president and CEO of United Systems, holds multiple professional certifications. He can be reached at 941-721-6423 or by email at david.spire@uscomputergroup.com.

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