Are you constantly faced with an endless invasion of emails piling up in your inbox? Does it ever get so out of hand, that you don’t even have the time to read through it – which potentially means you could be behind in receiving important information – or even missing out on them altogether?! Perhaps, you do manage to read it, but the meaning of the email has been lost in translation. STOP! Here are some of our Ninja Top Tips that will save you time and effort when it comes to receiving, reading, and organizing your emails.
‘Using Rules in Outlook so that a lot of emails don’t even land in my inbox; they are automatically filed into a reading file.’ – Jill Mallett
Microsoft Outlook has a feature called ‘Rules’ which allows a person to be able to designate certain emails into certain files. For instance, if you constantly receive an email from a specific individual about a certain topic, you are able to select the option of automatically placing any emails you receive from them into another folder, so that it doesn’t clutter your inbox. This provides you with the time later on to read it, generally knowing what the email is about so that you can dedicate your time towards it when needed.
‘I change the subject line for a lot of email I receive from other people. Since most of the time people don’t use very good subject line etiquette, which makes filing difficult or search more difficult. Changing the subject line makes things much easier!’ – Jill Mallett
The subject line saves time and effort to gather meaning from an email, so that the recipient knows exactly what you want to get out of them. The meaning is clearer to understand and it gets straight to the point, so don’t be afraid to tell them what you want – simply by telling them the topic!
‘I deliberately don’t have the email app on my phone so that I am not reminded of work at any point during my time off!’ – Elena Kerrigan
So you look at your emails, even once you’ve finished work? Reading emails out of work hours half-heartedly is not a productive use of your time. Leave work at work! You need time to re-energize and replenish your mind and body from the day you have faced. Therefore, try to avoid bringing your work home, because even though you may be convinced that you are saving yourself time, you are taking time away to relax and to have a life outside work which we all know is important and a need for a Productivity Ninja.
Switch It Up
‘Consider if email is the best way to communicate something. Can it wait until you see/speak to the person instead? Would this be a better way to communicate an idea/question?’ – Hayley Watts
Do not be impulsive and send an email immediately. Stop. Think. Ask. Ask yourself, is this email necessary right at this moment? We need to consider whether the meaning of the email might get lost in translation, because we don’t want to waste our time trying to reiterate and explain what one is trying to say, if it is better explained in person.
‘I think it’s important to have an excellent email signature, and also have it turned on for ALL emails.’
– Have one! (On all emails – including replies)
– Keep it simple (3-5 lines of key contact info)
– Include a link to social media/media features/ blogs (showcase your expertise)
– Include a call to action (if appropriate) – Dawn O’Connor
‘Use your signature out of office to set expectations and start to shape the email culture you want to create.’ – Grace Marshall
Keep it simple and professional, and try to avoid bombarding the recipient with an overload of unnecessary information. An email signature provides a platform for professionalism, which avoids wasting time on behalf of the people attempting to chase up your contact information, as this gets straight to the point. It is literally about saving time and indirectly letting the recipient know that you are available for them to get in touch with, if needs be.
Reusable Text Blocks
‘Mine would have to be quick parts, creating reusable text blocks for email messages.’ – Barbara Green
Do you find at times you’re repeating yourself in emails? After a while, it can become quite tedious and soon you wish that there was a pre-made template that could be sent out. Guess what? That is possible! Microsoft Outlook has included an easy-to-use function called ‘reusable text blocks’ for emails, which essentially provides you with the ability to reuse certain content, or even the entirety of the message, from one email – to another. This allows you to be more efficient with how you choose to allocate your time, giving you the option to focus on other tasks at hand, then spend the day repeating yourself over and over again. To find out more about reusable text blocks and how to use it, simply click here.
May your inner ninja come out in your emails.
What are your own personal email tips? Share them with us @thinkproductivecanada.
By Rosie To