Escape Email Overload

Everyday we are facing the same “battle”. Our “Procrastinator-Me” and “Productivity-Me” are fighting for our attention, then the guilt settles in as we stare at overflowing emails filling up our inbox.

Should I reply to this mail now or after I read about Leonardo DiCaprios new hairstyle?

According to The Radicati Group, Inc. people receive an average of 120 Mails a day! Thats 15 more than in 2011 and the numbers are increasing.

Along with that, the level of stress increases. As Joanne Cantor Ph.D. was quoted by Huffington Post:  “Being overwhelmed by email interferes with your brain’s ability to think and hampers your creativity, as well as increasing stress”.

She also said “The sound of the new email ping from your phone or computer can actually raise your heart rate and blood pressure. But that’s not all, being interrupted by the new email takes our attention away from the task at hand: the work we’re actually doing. It takes time to get focused again after checking your inbox, extending the time it takes to actually get stuff done.”

The term Inbox Zero, introduced by Merlin Mann in 2006, has become somewhat of a Mail-Nirvana to most of us and we only continue to see more and more emails coming through.

How can we shut up our Procrastinator-Me and start cleaning up and reaching Inbox Zero every day?

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Several resources suggest setting yourself a specific time to check email, or creating folders and setting filters etc.

Below are 4 Tips that were found very helpful in boosting Productivity for many users already:

Turn off notifications – favourite and easiest step of all of them! There is no need for you to set yourself a time when to check your mails if you get distracted by the notifications that keep popping up in some corner of your computer.
According to emailoverloadsolutions.com research has found that the average time to recover from an Email interruption is approximately 65 seconds. For someone receiving 100 Emails a day, approximately two hours a day is lost in Email interruption recovery time alone. Do it, switch them off now.

Use In-Line Reply – It already takes a lot of time, thinking of the best way to structure a reply to a mail that requires you to answer more than 3 questions, as you want to keep it as clear and understandable as possible for everyone involved. There is a variety of In-Line Reply Add-Ons and other options to use, but most of them can get pretty messy and very confusing. Mailbird, an email client for Windows, seems to have solved that problem. By just clicking “Enter” in the part of the text you want to comment, the users name appears and the comment can easily be added in the color chosen in the main settings. This simple but yet great feature makes it so much easier for both, sender and recipient.

Limit the length of your Email – Get to the point — but without forgetting your mail Etiquette! You will do yourself and your mails recipient a huge favour if you send out mails that are straight forward, well structured, as short as possible and yet informative. Avoid personal chats in Emails as well as these messages are just unnecessarily filling up your inbox. Always remember your mails recipient is probably trying to reach Inbox-Zero as well and wants to get through your mail as fast as possible.

Use Multiple Accounts:  Using Multiple Accounts can actually be seen as a different way of creating folders. It is very supportive in terms of prioritising your tasks as it allows you to keep a better overview on what the mails are related to and with that the level of priority. Good Email clients like Mailbird for Windows or Sparrow for Mac i.e. are great for working and managing Multiple Accounts.

It simply comes down to what your are most comfortable working with and about finding out what systems or features you find most useful to kick your Procrastinators-Me’s ass.

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