The business benefits of actively managing email

Emails are the cornerstone of B2B communication, and they have completely transformed the way we conduct business transactions or launch marketing campaigns. This is not a small amount of pressure to put on one communication tool, especially since the email just turned 47 this year by witnessing and withstanding so many changes. No matter how much instant messaging has changed the communication world globally, when it comes to professional correspondence, the email is not going anywhere.
   

As with any great tool, the email has its flaws, which are not connected to the service itself, but to the way people are using it. The second most time-consuming task during a workday, after “role-specific tasks”, is reading and replying to the emails in the inbox. The information flow is what keeps most business today running, but the employees that are managing and analysing this information spend more than enough time doing it. So it’s inevitable to pose the question of email management and productivity.
 
Some businesses use email clients that can help them boost the overall team efficiency. This is achieved by integrating business productivity apps (Slack, Asana, Todoist and others) and features in one place, which makes it easier and faster for employees to communicate. A good email client has full integration capabilities and native options that allow for better email management like an inline reply, quick action bar, preview and search of attachments, contact manager and others. The most popular email clients today are Outlook, Airmail, Mailbird etc.
 

How to manage email effectively

 
The average worker gets over 300 emails during a workweek and spends approximately four hours a day looking at the messages in the inbox. If we assume that a work day should be eight hours a day, then half of that time is spent on emails.
As a business owner, you are aware that sometimes emails can be a distraction that messes with the focus and the productivity of your team, and that is why we wrote this article. We are going to give you some tips about drafting an efficient email policy for your company. You can try them out and see what works for your employees and what doesn’t.
 

Set aside time to read and respond

 
Having a designed email time during the day can help boost productivity. You can draft an email schedule where after three to four hours of working, you set aside 30 minutes for reading what’s in your inbox. Even though this may seem complicated at first, it will help you keep your workflow on a higher level without getting distracted or interrupted by emails. If you’re worried that you might miss an ASAP email, there is always another way you can be reached, like instant messaging (Slack) or a phone call. Try putting “reading and responding to emails” in your to-do list, and see what happens when you schedule your email time.

Prioritise

 
Not every email is important, as that some of them are spam or promotional offers or just circular emails that don’t contain significant content about a project. This is where prioritising comes into play. If an email is not a priority for you that day or it doesn’t require an immediate response, then you can let it sit for a time when you are not swamped with other work tasks. Learning how to prioritise the emails in your inbox can save you a lot of time and headaches down the line.
 

Take immediate action

 
According to the author of “Getting Things Done”, David Allen, you should follow the “two-minute” rule when it comes to responding to emails. What is the “two-minute” rule? Every time you get you an email you need to access how important it is, and does it take more than two minutes to respond to it. If it’s important, you have to take immediate action anyway, but if it’s not and it would take you more than two minutes, you can delay it for later when you have more free time. The emails that can be read and replied in that two-minute timeframe should be dealt with right away. Using this simple trick every day, you could unclutter your inbox in a matter of weeks.
 

Use labels, folders and categories to organise your inbox

 
The best way to eliminate stress and anxiety when it comes to your inbox is to keep it clean and organised. It sounds like a wish that it’s too good to be true, but it’s more then possible if you learn how to categorise emails in proper folders, and if you put some labels on them. You can set up a filing system, with categories like “Action”, “Waiting”, “Reference”, and “Archives”, or you can label the emails according to the client (project), then the time to find an item or answer it is going to be cut in half.
 

Reuse sent messages or use a template

 
Do you know any lawyers, or at least do you know how they conduct business? Most of the time, when they are drafting a contract, they use layouts and templates. This is the one tip you should take from the legal practice, and that is creating a reusable draft for saving time while responding to emails. Furthermore, if you have an email with a wording that is very professional and appealing to you, save it for later. You might use it tomorrow with a different client. Moreover, that is how copywriters work.
 

Unsubscribe from anything irrelevant

 
If you have any subscriptions that you though are very important when you were starting out in your field, but now they are just cluttering your inbox, you should get rid of them. It is human psychology to keep unread emails in our inbox because we might find some free time later in the day to read them. However, that almost never happens, so do yourself and your inbox a favour and unsubscribe.