People have too much email these days. Even the best of us, those who try to add some sort of sanity to our inboxes, have a hard time every now than then (I try to keep mine below 50, which is very tough at the moment). As part of our business relationship with Business on Main, we at Smallbiztechnology.com would like to share a few tips on how to keep that inbox in check, and your emails in line. First tip, in case you haven’t noticed: assume that everyone has too much email and is crunched for time. This will save you from writing and sending unnecessary emails.
2. If your message is less than seven words, put it in the subject line – This one may be hard to value, but if all you’re emailing is a question, or a confirmation, the use the subject line. No need to repeat yourself in the body of the email, and using the subject line is certainly a lot better than just hitting reply, or keeping the subject line blank.
3. Email is not always the answer – Email is not the best method of communication for everything. If there’s a misunderstanding that needs to be straightened out, then use the phone or talk to the person face-to-face. If you need an answer right away, email might not be your best bet. If you need to discuss confidential or personal information, then don’t even consider using email.
4. If you’re not going to reply to an email right away (or simply delete it), then don’t open the email in the first place – It’s tempting to open up that email as soon as it arrives in the inbox, but unless you’re going to take immediate action on it, then don’t do it. This will lead to your inbox filling up with old emails, and those important messages to get lost in the shuffle. Don’t worry. The email will still be there when you have the time to do something about it.
5. Set aside email time – Especially for small businesses and professionals, there’s valuable information in all that email. Set aside time each day to do something about the cluttered inbox. This will keep your inbox from overwhelming you, and you’ll find that by setting aside time, you can do a better job of tracking all that information coming in. Plus, it’s a lot better to make the time for these things, instead of trying to find the time.
Our inboxes can get out of control very easily, but it doesn’t have to be that way, and we don’t have to make it that way for other people. Just like all other media of communication, there’s a proper way to conduct your emails and to handle email communication.