I like it when you send me an email. It feels like a letter, and letters are really personal. I’ve exchanged emails with Seth Godin and he never writes more than 3 sentences, but I still love those emails because it’s a real person using their real voice to talk to me. Your email count and your productivity are often like a scale, the more of one means the less of the other. The first measure of your relationship with email is how often you check it.
Check your email first thing in the morning.
I want to provide great service to my clients and I can take care of a vast majority of their needs in a 30 minute email session in the morning. This allows me to not think about my emails till at least lunch. It also allows me to charge my brain with great information to start my day since I subscribe to my favorite blogs via email (the rest get put into my RSS feed reader which is often neglected).
Don’t leave your email program/window open and turn off all on-screen notifications.
Email is like Bob, the guy at the office who stops by to say “Hi” but really just needs to buy a parakeet so he has someone to talk to. He’s a time thief because you’re too nice to say, “Bob, I have to get back to a task I was working on when you interrupted me.” Saying “Hi” is cool. Messing up my work day and making me less productive is not cool. You don’t have a Bob you say? Well you do have notifications of new emails and they’re worse than Bob because they are truly there all the time. Turn them off. Close your email window too, it’s getting drafty in the productivity part of your brain.
Filter your emails
I’ll cover this in a future post but if your email program doesn’t have filters you need to get one that does (start by going HERE). If you already have that kind of account then go to Settings – Filters and then read through your options. By creating filters you can make emails skip your inbox (where you check the most) and go straight to folders where you can view them when you have time. Filter out newsletters, blogs, Groupons and other daily reminders into a folder. Check it once a day and then check it a different day. By filtering your emails you’ll spend less time switching between client correspondence and “deal of the day” kinds of messages.
What are your tips for checking email instead of stalking it?