6 Tips for Effectively Managing Email

As an administrative professional, you probably receive a considerable number of emails every day. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by your inbox if you don’t have an effective way of managing email.

Here are some six useful tips for taking charge of your email:

1. Prioritize responses. Replying to every email the instant it arrives can cause frequent interruptions to your workflow and hamper productivity. Instead, briefly scan the content of messages you receive, immediately answering only those that are urgent.

2. Call a technology time-out. If you can’t resist responding to new messages, eliminate the temptation. Shut down your email program when you need to concentrate on critical tasks. Also, consider adjusting your settings so that you don’t receive distracting pop-up alerts on your screen whenever a new message arrives.

3. Keep your account work-related. Sure, forwarded jokes or trivia add levity to your day, but these types of correspondence don’t help you in the time-management department. Instead, ask family members and friends to send messages to your personal account. Doing so will enable you to zero in on your work and managing email will become easier.

4. Communicate clearly. You can cut down on inbox clutter by making sure the messages you send are clear and straightforward. Needless back-and-forth emailing wastes time and tests the patience of all parties involved.

5. Get organized. On a regular basis — perhaps once a week — go through your inbox to delete unnecessary emails and file relevant ones in an appropriate folder. This practice, along with writing on-topic subject lines, will help you locate important messages quickly at a later date.

6. Make it personal. Email is best suited for quick questions and succinct answers. Consider in-person or phone conversations for topics that are sensitive or require in-depth discussion. This will save you some typing time and help build a rapport with those you’re communicating with.

Remember the less email you send, the less email you will receive. Think carefully before copying a dozen team members on an “FYI” message that may only apply to one or two of them. If you don’t flood others’ inboxes with unnecessary communications, they’ll likely have the same respect for you.

What other tips do you have for managing email?