- Course Search
- ThirdBrain™ Simulations
- Project & Programme Management
- IT Service Management
- Technical IT
- Personal Development
- Course Tailoring
- Purchasing Options
- Professional Services
- Why Choose Quanta?
- About Quanta
- Get in Touch
Would you like a 29 hour day?
I think we have all joked from time to time saying "there are just not enough hours in the day". The truth of the matter is though even if you had a longer day, you would probably still say the same thing.
You can however effectively create time and not by working harder or even for longer but by working smarter!
Take email for example, like me you probably have far too many emails arriving with that all familiar ping on a daily basis. Much of it is important but equally much of it isn't and can be deleted or dealt with quickly. Research shows that each time a new email comes in it takes you a minimum of around 3-5 minutes to deal with it. So by the time you have opened it, read it, replied or thought I'll reply later and then remembered what you were doing and find where you were, you have already "wasted" a considerable amount of time. So here are some tips to help you deal with your barrage of email:
- Not everything is URGENT! Just because your computer has pinged and flashed up a little snippet of your email at the bottom of your screen, doesn't mean you have drop what you are doing and read it. I know it is all too easy isn't it, so why not turn off these alerts and instead look at your emails when you are ready to do so? By doing this you can save considerable time, quickly deleting previous messages in a chain, action others and mark those for action. Yes, you are still "distracted" by email but chunking time in this fashion you will loose far less time and focus rather than jumping into emails every time they arrive. And if an email is really urgent don't panic, if the world really is going to end they'll probably pick up the phone!
- Where to start? Just like you should with every aspect of your job, you should prioritise your emails. One way to do this is using categories, for example I have setup; Day's task; Do now; Do soon; Delegated; Waiting on others; To read. This puts a little coloured mark next to each email I flag up so I can clearly see, sort and filter by what needs to be done and when.
- Flag up the copies. If every email can distract you for 3-5 minutes it can soon add up and you know those times when people cc you into an email and then everyone replies to all? Annoying isn't it. Before email would these people write out 10 sticky notes and put them on everyone's desk? I think not but people do copy in the world when it comes to email. To combat this simply create a rule in your email program to colour emails not sent directly to you a different colour. This way you can quickly and easily identify "copy" emails and give them a lower priority aka leave them to later, as chances are they don't need you to action them or they would have been sent to you directly.
- Automatically file distribution list emails. We have a number of email addresses setup for different groups of people within our company or those in on a specific day and an every member of staff etc. This is not uncommon practice but do you need to read them all instantly? No. Again a rule to move them into suitably named subfolder(s) and then deal with them all en-mass at the end of the day or week is a much more time efficient way of doing things.
- Your inbox is not a holding area! So move emails you want to keep into sub folders and delete those you don't. Don't do this as and when they arrive but again deal with them in one hit every few hours or daily depending on the nature of your job.
- Don't forget about the sent ones. Just as important as inbox filing, are your sent items. These need filing and deleting too - so make sure you do so. That way once done you can easily find emails when it comes round to looking for them again in the future.
OK so those are a few tips for dealing with emails, which might not create an extra 4 hours in your day but should save you sometime and make you more efficient. To learn how to get that 29 hour day you've always dreamt of then consider attending our Time Management course, improving your personal effectiveness.
Posted by Chris Jones on Thu, 18/02/2010 - 5:50pm