How To Manage E-mail To Lessen Daily Interruptions
The typical at-desk employee in the workplace loses hours of productivity every day to interruptions and distractions.
Those interruptions come from e-mail alerts, instant messages, cell phones and handheld devices that constantly buzz.
The typical employee also checks e-mail dozens and dozens of times a day. Each time, the employee gets sidetracked, and their attention span suffers. Productivity drops. Thinking time decreases.
As a leader in the workplace, work with your employees to manage e-mails and to lessen daily interruptions. Try these techniques:
- Turn off all visual and sound alerts that announce new e-mail.
- Check e-mail at designated times during the day. Attempt to not check e-mail more often than every 45 minutes.
- Whenever possible, communicate by phone or face-to-face. This can actually save time and helps to build relationships, which suffer when e-mail is a workplace's predominant mode of communication.
- Resist using the reply-all function.
- Don't send e-mails to simply say "Thanks."
- Let co-workers know in advance that you reply to non-urgent messages within a day's time. Make responding to your external customers and clients your priority when responding.
- When sending a message be concise and to the point from the very beginning. Preempt questions in your original e-mail.
- Don't use the request delivery confirmation and read receipt options.
- Use the cc: field sparingly.
- Use the "out of office' feature to inform co-workers you are working on a project and are working on a deadline and will respond at a certain time.
- Use the "high priority" option only when the topic is critical.
- Use a meaningful subject line for your e-mail to make it easy for co-workers to find and reference the e-mail at a later date.
- Don't use long sentences. Use bullet points and helpful formatting to make reading your e-mails easy to digest.
- Experiment with internal "no e-mail Fridays."