Email is SO tricky! My personality is such that I can't turn off the notifications. Good for you @Quinn Drew
and @Maria Mooshil
for being able to do this - you'll have to coach me so someday I'll get there. Here's my approach to email:
- I do spend 30 minutes in the morning checking my email prior to whenever my first meeting is scheduled. This helps me get updates and set my mindset about the work that I need to accomplish that day and make any necessary adjustments.
- As the day goes on I'm typically in a bunch of meetings. Some meetings I am facilitating so I'm unable to look at my email. I've gotten very good at quickly scanning my email to identify and flag which items I'll need to address as soon as I have a minute and which emails can wait. I rely heavily on the flagging and tagging options to keep my emails separated by project/topic in Outlook.
- The other trick I have is that often I will be copied on email conversations and I will wait to respond and read the emails until the majority of the conversation has taken place. BAM! Just saved myself time reading through 3-5 emails and I can just read the one email that has the long chain so I absorb all of the conversation at one time instead of in chunks.
- Finally, I do really like setting a timed goal of reading emails. This happens naturally due to the small open blocks in my schedule, but it really does help to have that focused time. It's like a game. How many emails can I respond to with this 10 minutes I have. Try it out!
My bad habit is that even after I read emails I tend to file them away instead of taking it to the next level to ask if I really need to save it or not. Luckily I have plenty of storage space, but this does significantly extend my spring and winter cleaning of my Outlook folders. I need to work on this. If you have any tips or tricks for email storage/sorting - please share them!
Sent: 03-03-2022 16:17
From: Maria Mooshil
Subject: Professional hacks
This is a timely post for me, @Brianne Haxton. Over the past week, I've been thinking hard about my email habits. I come from the news industry, where answering emails quickly is important. And though I'm no longer in that field, I'm still pretty instantaneous with emails. Let me tell you, this is a VERY BAD THING! LOL! Not only does it distract me from my work at hand, but I see how it pressures the original email sender to respond to *my* response, which is never my intention.
I'll never be someone who schedules a set time to look at my emails; if I see one, I open it! However, like @Quinn Drew I have removed screen alerts and just have the little envelope on the taskbar icon. And I'm working on being more patient after I open an email. So I'll almost always read an email right away, but I'm trying not to respond so quickly. Instead I'm flagging them so I can come back and consider them -- and my responses -- a little more carefully. For me, it all comes down to patience, slowing down, and not obsessing over unopened emails. Those are the things I really need to work on!
Sent: 03-03-2022 11:36
From: Brianne Haxton
Subject: Professional hacks
Reading the Open Forum post about Life Hacks made me think of a tip I read recently that you shouldn't check email first thing in the morning. As someone who spends much of their working day in meetings, my inbox tends to get pretty full. I find that most mornings, I grab my coffee, log in, and head straight to my inbox.
I wanted to learn a little bit more about this idea of not checking your inbox first thing, and I found this article that addresses it. It gave some solid reasoning for avoiding emails first thing (lest you get sucked into the great email vortex!) and good alternatives for reviewing your inbox-- while on your public transit commute, later in your morning, during a scheduled break in your day, etc.
Does anyone do any of these things regularly? I'm curious how it works for you.