Don’t let the number of “unread” emails get over you
Employee or freelance, stressed or relaxed at work, ultra connected or not: whatever the profile, the vast majority of workers are not immune to the pressure of “unread” emails. Consciously or not, these pending messages are like so many tasks to be processed in a corner of your brain, and exert a strong psychological pressure.
The golden rule for effectively managing professional emails: don’t be overwhelmed by the number of unread emails. In doing so, you reduce the pressure and work in better conditions. Some tips to not get overwhelmed:
- Immediately process emails that require reduced processing time. When you open your inbox, identify messages that require a short reply and write it immediately. The file is closed, you can tick off an item on your to-do-list with satisfaction and move on.
- Use directories. Some emails require a longer processing time. Others involve third parties or elements independent of your own work force: the answer is necessarily delayed. Classify these messages in directories. For example, you can create a directory “to be processed”: this allows you to read the email – which no longer appears in “unread” – while archiving it in a folder to consult when you are able to. process email. Note: you can organize your labels according to the level of urgency or the deadlines – “to be processed within 24 hours”, “to be processed within 7 days” …
Schedule automatic responses
During your vacation, program an automatic absence message. Beyond duly informing your interlocutor, it allows you to lighten your mind – and make better use of your vacation! The “robot” has responded for you, the sender of the message is aware that you will respond to him on the date indicated. No stress, communication is preserved.
Turn your inbox into a real work tool
Professional mailboxes are equipped with powerful features that you have every interest in using. Among these features: directories. They not only allow you to reduce the number of unread emails, but also to classify and archive your messages strategically, just like a physical organizer.
Think of your email as a sorter. This platform becomes a valuable tool for optimizing your organization at work. If each message is put in its place, your ideas are clearer: you can concentrate 100% on your core business. Setting up this organization takes a little time up front, but you save a lot in the long run.
Download our practical sheet in pdf
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Note: some practice the “zero message” policy. It is a matter of leaving the office without any message in your inbox: emails, processed or not, are immediately archived in the appropriate directory. Depending on your degree of resistance to professional pressure, you can test this policy.
Establish “email times”
Effectively managing professional emails also means not being distracted by their untimely arrival throughout the day – and night! You gain in productivity at work by setting up “email times”.
The rules to follow:
- Stay alert. Do you receive an email about a task that you are just processing? Read the message immediately. Your interlocutor may inform you of a project update or an adjustment to integrate. You need to be aware of these elements to be sure you are heading in the right direction.
- Periodically process your messages. Dealing with emails as they are received keeps you from focusing on your task at hand. Interrupted in your work, your pace slows down and you are less efficient. So plan for periodic management: in the morning, before and after your lunch break and one hour before leaving the office, for example.
- Suppress the notifications. The arrival of email alerts on your computer or smartphone also affects your concentration. Turn off notifications to improve performance and reduce stress.
- Balance responsiveness and efficiency at work. Stay responsive: your contact will be grateful to you for a short response time. Be aware, however, that a delay of a few hours is totally acceptable.
Unsubscribe from irrelevant newsletters
Are you regularly spammed? Inundated with worthless promotional messages? Do you receive obsolete newsletters regarding your current position? So many received messages that distract you in your work, pollute your messaging system and your mind. Be aware of the time wasted opening, reading and processing these mails. You can then knowingly unsubscribe from mailing lists.
Note: tools – Cleanfox, for example – allow you to automatically unsubscribe from the mailing lists of your choice in a few clicks.
Limit group shipments
If the CC and CCI functionalities and grouped sendings can prove to be useful, reserve them wisely… The more you multiply the recipients of your messages, the more you increase the number of emails received in response. Exchanges, moreover, can quickly become a source of disorder and misunderstanding.
Before any sending, ask yourself the question of the relevance of the recipients. You save yourself unnecessary emails to process, you save your contacts exchanges that do not concern them.
Organize the body of the email as well as possible
Another way to limit endless exchanges: be clear and organized in the body of your message.
- Ask all the questions, so you don’t come back to them in a haphazard way. Use bullet points or any other type of list to organize your ideas and optimize the readability of the message.
- Write simple and effective. It is not a question of showing talent as a writer, but of facilitating the understanding of your requests. Write short sentences, and use simple terms.
- Space your sentences. Line breaks improve clarity: apply the “one idea, one paragraph, one new paragraph, one line break” principle.
- Read yourself again. This is an opportunity to check spelling, grammar and punctuation. Also take the opportunity to check that you are addressing the correct recipients. Remember: once you click on “send”, your action is final …
Write your objects using keywords
Beyond a communication tool, your professional messaging system is an archiving platform. Do you need to find some info? Need to resume a suspended project? The search tool of your messaging system allows you to find the email concerned … provided you use the right keywords. When writing the subject line for your message, be sure to choose terms that you would use if you needed to find this message quickly.
Limit placement in the recycle bin
The capacity of your messaging system allows you to keep a considerable number of emails, do not deprive yourself of it. Know that writings are essential to record information, but also to serve as evidence in case of disagreement.
Does your N + 1 reproach you for not having followed his instructions? A customer questions the respect of the delivery deadlines of your work? Use your email communications to prove your good faith. Place your emails in directories rather than deleting them!
Effectively managing professional emails also means learning not to manage them continuously! Be responsive and alert, but only during your working hours.
- Remove your professional mailbox from your personal phone.
- Suppress notifications on your smartphone.
- Assert your right to disconnect!