Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
A few days ago, I mentioned that Joe Zyncro was overloaded, he was receiving over 300 e-mails a day and however efficient he wanted to be, he just could not manage them all. Even my partner was complaining that I was stuck to my Blackberry all day. (Even then I was not able to answer everything…).
Joe made me reflect upon the following:
First let us carry out a self diagnosis:
1. Be honest with yourself and ask yourself, are you really an e-mail addict? Some symptoms:
b) Do you stop writing a document or presentation to check if you have received any new e-mails?
c) Do you reply to e-mails more than 10 times a day? (Count them).
d) When you hear “ding”, do you run to check your phone and/or computer in order to see who has written to you?
If you answer “yes” to the three questions, you have serious e-mail addition symptoms. This addiction could affect your personal relationship. Has anyone ever said to you; “Could you please leave your phone alone and listen to me?”
2. “I receive hundreds of e-mail everyday!” Some key questions:
a) How many of them are actually about work?
b) How many of them are a call for action? In other words, how many are requesting that you carry out a task?
c) How many are exclusively aimed at you?
d) How many do you delete without reading?
e) How many are subscriptions?
Some advice for managing your e-mail and improving your productivity:
a) Break e-mail addiction. You can answer when you decide, not when you receive it. How is this done? Setting aside planned time for answering e-mails every day. This can be when you want and as many times as you want within reason. But it must allow you time to concentrate on other tasks, meetings, writing documents, calls, your partner, your children… you can apply this to other activities, Jack Welch calls this working in compartmental blocks.
b) Do all collaborative activities require an e-mail? The answer is NO. Tools such as Zyncro allow you to reduce the number of e-mails you receive by between 20% and 40% and still be informed about topics because on a daily basis you will be able to read and answer about project XYZ on the microblogging. You will follow the project closely and read much more effectively by concentrating on just one topic.
c) Limit the amount of subscriptions (including those from Zyncro) or create automatic rules so that the bulletins and information do not go straight into your inbox.
e) Go back and review point c) once again. How many Zyncro work groups have you subscribed to? Reconsider them, there are probably some groups that are not necessary. Also, what newsletters are you still receiving in your inbox? That many?! I am sure these could be reduced.
Applying these actions in a systematic manner, I have improved my daily productivity superbly.
Each day, more companies think about reducing the e-mail volumes they receive, below are some examples:
About information overload (Spanish)
“Employees average 20 hours a week managing 350 emails. This costs an average business of 50,000 an estimated US $1 billion every year.” (Harvard 2008 Study)