Email ManagementI've had a few people question me about my email management, having seen my out of office automated response. Like most, I found that I became a slave to the inbox, and it had turned into my to-do list, my instant messenger, my social network... and my email inbox.
As much as I knew that I should turn my email application off, and only log in a couple of times, it never happened.
So this is what I did...
- At server level, I redirected all emails to my PA. This meant that she could reply to them and deal with anything urgent that didn't need my input far quicker than I could.
- She forwards the emails to me once per day, unless anything is urgent in which case it will arrive sooner. I've played around with various times but 9:30am works best: it gives me time to clear the most important tasks of the day, and to clear any urgent calls, before going through emails
- I added a clear signature and out of office auto-responder
How has this helped? Massively. It's removed the ramp-up time required to get back into a project. But perhaps more importantly, it's allowed me to consider my email sending habits. Do I want to inflict the same pain on others? Would I (and they) be better served, and more connected, with a 2 minute phone call? No I don't. It's also far easier to reach Inbox Zero daily when it only needs to be managed once.
Quite simply, it has worked wonders. Below is my auto-response, and I use the last paragraph as my signature too. I hope it works as well for you!
Thanks for your email.
To help improve my personal productivity, I only check emails once per day, at most. If your email can't wait and you'd like an urgent chat, please either call me directly, or contact my assistant Lorri on 01793 741600 / firstname.lastname@example.org and she will make sure that we can speak as soon as possible.