5S Your Inbox

By on April 14, 2008
5S Your Inbox

In 2007, the average corporate email user received 126 messages a day. Workers are now spending 26% of their day managing email. In contrast, a Wall Street Journal reader’s poll found that 79% of responders said that less than half of their emails are valuable. So we’re spending a lot of time reading things that aren’t important. What a waste!

The real solution – the Lean solution – is to reduce the volume of email that you’re generating and receiving in the first place. Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t indiscriminately hit the “reply to all” button or copy too many people on trivial messages. Consider who really needs to see your message.
  • When you send an email to a group of people, put the recipients in the BCC field. That prevents them from hitting reply all. (If you want to show who was on the list, put their names in the body of the email.)
  • Commit to a daily 10 minute meeting/phone call with your main email correspondents. Cover all non-urgent items that you might otherwise have put in an email. You’ll be amazed at how many emails you can preempt.
  • Here’s a novel concept: Pick up the phone!
  • Avoid reading email throughout the day. A lot of people can not get work done because they read every email as soon as it arrives. Create a recurrent appointment everyday where you can concentrate only on your emails.
  • Read your emails only once. When your open an email try to act on that email immediately, either respond to somebody, forward the email, delete the message, save it in specific folder, or archive the email.
  • Be sure that you have an automatic “junk mail box” set up. Delete junk email that still gets by the filter without even opening it.
  • Create folders under your in-box to sort email once you review or respond to it. Be sure to use a specific subject name so you can find messages easily.
  • Set up a regular time to purge email folders of outdated and unnecessary information.

Here’s to keeping your email box lean, clean and mean!

About Shayna Howell

Shayna was the Client Development Manager in the Workforce Solutions Group of St Louis Community College. She has over 20 years of experience in the Community College system in training and development, project management, program/course development, grant writing/administration and marketing.

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