Are emails sucking the life out of your productivity? | Travel Research Online


Are emails sucking the life out of your productivity?

I recently heard that the average worker in the US receives more than 100 emails in a single day. Let’s expand that. 700 a week. 36,400 per year!  And I might venture to say with all the promotional emails we receive from preferred suppliers, trade associations, and trade publications, we are closer to 200 per day.  How do you handle it all? If you are like me, not as well as you should. I was at a networking event a few weeks ago talking about this. Here are my 7 takeaways!

  1. Treat your email like any other task. Schedule a time to do it. It might be 10 minutes 3 times a day or an hour first thing in the morning over a cup of coffee. If you have it constantly open, it is an invitation for distraction. I prefer to hit my emails first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Anything pressing in the evening, gets rescheduled for the morning.
  2. Read your subject lines. The subject line is the most important part—it tells you what’s inside! If you are like me, many of your emails are useless. Not necessarily spam, but not terribly helpful. The obvious low-hanging fruit are the “First Page on Google” ones. But also, if you are a cruise only agency, why bother reading about the cheap weekend package to the Bahamas from BWI unless you personally are looking into it? Zap them!
  3. Don’t reply to them all. Many emails do not require a reply. Many (most?) emails are sent to inform and the sender is just going to have to trust the Internet to deliver it and you to read it if appropriate. Read it and then archive it (more on that in a bit) and move on. For me, I will always get a few responses to my newsletter thanking me for sending them the information. No, thank you.  Thank you. Thank you for thanking me.  Just make it stop!
  4. Use your email tools. All email clients (programs) have organization tools built into the software. Spend some time learning them and reap the benefits. Rules will take specific emails and do specific actions (move all email from preferred supplier 1 to the PREFERRED SUPPLIER 1 folder, move emails with the subject “Group Cruise” to the GROUP CRUISE FOLDER). Once you get the swing of things, it is a huge timesaver. I like templates. I have created a few “form letters” that are in a template folder with stock answers. Right click, send again, address it and off it goes. A relatively new to me feature in some clients is the snooze feature. If you get an email that is useful, but nit right now—snooze it for a day, week, month and it disappears and reappears later!
  5. Keep it short. If you ever wanted to talk to Lee Rosen, the founder of TRAMS, you had to be brief. He was notorious for only reading the subject lines of emails and maybe (unconfirmed) the first sentence or two of an occasional email. When sending emails, keep it as short and to the point as possible—your recipients will thank you. But for the ones you receive, spend no more than a minute on each one. If it takes more than a minute to handle, move it out of email and treat it as a task.
  6. Ditch the notifications. That little red bubble that pops up on your phone drives you crazy doesn’t it? I know it does. I can’t stand it. My girlfriend will regularly have several hundred email messages in her inbox and it infuriates me every time I see it. So she turned the notifications off.  You know you have emails, no need for a warning. If you have time scheduled to handle them—that should be enough. Don’t let the little red bubble distract you from your other work.
  7. Look at some third-party tools. The folks in my networking group suggested some third-party add-ons that may be of help. Boomerang and The Email Game were mentioned; but I have no experience with them. If anyone does, please let me know. I am all about creating more efficiency in the mundane!

Or simply  you do you.  We all have our own little tricks to make things work better for us. Do you have some tips to share?  Leave a comment!


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