How to manage email effectively


Learning to manage email effectively is really something that should be taught in colleges, universities and on the first day of work in businesses country-wide. Failing to manage your email in an effective manner can lead to huge swathes of your day wasted in more ways than one.

As a team we’ve had a few training sessions on managing email effectively and I thought it could be beneficial to share some tips and tricks with our readers.

Turn it off!

Everyone knows that those little pop-ups and chimes alerting you that you’ve got a new message are an enormous distraction so turn them off. Simple enough to do, just look up the relevant settings in your email client and say goodbye to that damned little envelope.

Book it in

Whilst I’m sure you’re all very important people serving even more important clients, email is not a communication medium that needs to be responded to immediately (that is what the telephone is for). With that in mind, book in a few time slots a day to deal with email and only have the email client open during those hours. If Outlook is closed it isn’t distracting you. Perhaps you could have email windows of 9am-10am and then again 2pm-3pm. If you’re concerned that an emergency email (they don’t really exist) will come through, you could always set up an auto-responder for when you’ve got Outlook closed.

No time to reply, don’t check it

How many times have you checked your emails just before bed or at some other time when you have no intention of actually responding to anything you “just wanted to check”? Stop doing that. Why? Doing this tends to get you thinking about how you’ll respond the next day, or it brings up anger/anxiety about something going on at work, or any one of a number of things. Point being that it takes you away, mentally, from whatever you are doing (e.g. spending some QT with friends and family) because you’re now distracted about something you have no intention of resolving until later anyway. Or worse, you end up in front of the computer drafting replies. If you don’t check it there’s no chance of finding something to worry about – let worrying be Tomorrow You’s problem.

Pick up the bloody phone

If a picture paints a thousand words then a phone call saves a thousand emails. Don’t engage with, or encourage, email tennis. It’s lazy, unprofessional, and soaks up far too much time for those involved. Even worse is the equivalent of doubles tennis – the group CC conversation. If you can’t respond to an email in a few paragraphs or if you feel there is going to be loads of back and forth, do yourself a favour, pick up the phone.

If you’ve got issues in your business you don’t seem to be able to get on top of, why not get in touch? Not only do we provide a full suite of bookkeeping and tax services here at Generate, but we’re also able to help with business coaching, strategy workshops, business plans and much more. You name the problem and I’m sure we can help.