Type, send, repeat: The average professional spends about 28 percent of their workday on email. For American workers, that number equates to about 2.6 hours and 120 messages received per day, says Matt Plummer in a post on Harvard Business Review.
To spend your time working toward your goals rather than email, Plummer recommends adopting these habits:
Stop over-checking your email. ”On average, professionals check their email 15 times per day, or every 37 minutes,” Plummer says. “Do most people expect a response within that time frame? No. In fact, only 11 percent of customers/clients and 8 percent of coworkers expect a response in less than an hour.” To save time, he recommends setting aside five to eight minutes every hour to check your inbox.
Cut down on folders. Folders can keep your inbox more organized, but they can slow you down when you’re looking for specific communications. “Search is one fix. Another is email/to-do list integrations,” Plummer says. “Taken together, these methods can save users 14 minutes per day.”
Clear out your inbox. ”When we check a crowded inbox, we end up re-reading emails over and over again. We can’t help it; if they’re there, we read them,” he says. Plummer recommends deleting or archiving emails as soon as you’ve read them. “However, a read email that needs a later response is no longer an email requiring reading; it is a task requiring action. It should be treated as such and moved out of the inbox and onto a to-do list.”
Get rid of irrelevant emails. Don’t waste your time on emails that don’t pertain to you. “To break the habit of processing irrelevant emails individually, use a three-part approach: automated filtering for newsletters you actually use, unsubscribing from those you don’t, and blocking spam and other emails that keep coming after you’ve tried to unsubscribe.”
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