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6 ways to spend less time on business emails

6 ways to spend less time on business emails

Posted 12th January, 2022 by Sarah

Research suggests that the average worker spends 3.1 hours a day reading and answering professional emails.

That amounts to 15.5 hours a week, 20 weeks per year and it accounts for £6,000 of an average worker’s salary.

Further studies indicate that it can take an extra 64 seconds for a person to regain their focus after checking their emails, stripping extra seconds out of the day.

Of course, businesses rely on email communications for everything from employee comms to customer support.

Wouldn’t it be nice, though, if you could make the email process more efficient?

Here are six tips on how to do so.

1. Delete or archive emails immediately

Time management consultancy Zarvana believe that you can save up to 27 minutes a day by keeping your inbox empty.

The company said: ‘When we check a crowded inbox, we end up re-reading emails over and over again. We can’t help it; if they’re there, we read them.

‘And, if people go to their inboxes 15 times per day and spend just four seconds looking at each email (the time it takes to read the average preview text) and re-reading only 10% of them (an estimate based on the number of messages that fit on average computer screen), they’ll lose 27 minutes each day’.

In order to keep your inbox empty, you’ll need to be more decisive when it comes to dealing with your emails.

Zarvana recommends that you either delete or archive your emails after reading them the first time.

If the email contains a task, add the task to your to-do list and either add the email to your archive folder (if it contains detail required for the task) or delete it.

2. Unsubscribe

This is one of the easiest ways to reduce the amount of time you spend in your inbox.

Experts suggest that the average person spends between 15 and 20 seconds reading an opt-in email like a newsletter.

When you consider that most people open about 20% of their opt-in newsletters it becomes clear that those 15 to 20 seconds add up to more than four minutes a day and 20 minutes a week.

So next time you click to open a newsletter, evaluate the content. Assess whether the content of that newsletter is still relevant or helpful to your work and if it’s not hit the unsubscribe button.

3. Eat your frogs in the morning

In a recent article in Inc magazine, a number of chief executives reported that they suspected that some employees were spending excessive amounts of time on reading and responding to emails because they were trying to avoid working on other more arduous jobs like report writing.

If this sort of behaviour resonates with you, it’s worth bearing the words of Mark Twain in mind.

The author famously said that if you eat a live frog in the morning, you can go through the day knowing the worst is behind you.

So put the task you’re least looking forward to at the top of your to-do list in the mornings and you might find yourself wasting less time on emails.

4. Try Yesterboxing

Back in the early twenty teens, Tony Hsieh, the founder of American clothing retailer Zappos, revealed his approach for dealing with what he called the ‘unending treadmill’ of messages in his inbox.

He called it the Yesterbox technique.

The CEO would only ever answer emails from the day before. This meant that he had a set number of emails to deal with every day, rather than a constant stream.

When dealing with the day before’s emails, Hsieh would start by identifying the emails that would take more than 10 minutes to respond to, and work on them first.

Hsieh had one exception – he would respond to urgent emails. He classed urgent emails as those that would cause harm if left unanswered.

5. Use the Pareto Principle

If the thought of answering your emails a day after they arrive leaves you in a cold sweat, try the Pareto Principle for prioritising your emails.

The Pareto Principle states that 80% of results will come from just 20% of actions.

To apply this principle to your emails, you need to be savvy.

You’ll need to identify the sort of emails that yield the best results. These are your 20% emails and you should respond to these immediately.

For the emails that don’t lead to such big breakthroughs in your work – aka the 80% emails – you can reply a little later.

Don’t leave them hanging around in your inbox, though – see point one above.

6. Use keyboard shortcuts

Different email platforms will have different shortcuts, but most will allow you to carry out tasks like opening, replying, forwarding and sending emails by using the control button and another key.

For example, in Outlook, you can reply by clicking CTRL and R.

While this hack will only save you seconds at a time, these seconds will add up.

Looking for a professional email solution for your business?

At tsoHost we offer a Professional Email product that’s suitable for businesses of all sizes.

It comes with functionality like email forwarding, catch-call email, spam and virus protection and accuracy features. Plus, the Team plans come with collaboration features such as shared calendars and contact lists.

Prices start at just 99p per month for a single inbox.

Find out more on our product pages.

Categories: Small Businesses, Email

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