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Get out of your Inbox!

Read 1936 times Last modified on Sunday, 13 December 2015 16:14

Do you rely on email to do your job? Do you require information from emails to complete your daily tasks? If so, you may find that you spend a LOT of your time in your inbox. You may find yourself overwhelmed by the volume of emails and people chasing you to respond. If you are tired of people asking “Did you get the email I sent 5 minutes ago?” and seem to spend more time dealing with questions than working, then you need to read this. There IS way to do manage emails and still focus on the job at hand.

The Problem

A widespread problem across all industries is dealing with e-mail flow. Many of us require information via email to do our job and this often involves communication to clarify certain points regarding a task or project. Our inbox is an important central repository of information. If dealing with numerous people, the flow of emails can be very high and many people will expect immediate responses. Some people will chase you and not only is this stressful, it is a huge distraction that prohibits you from doing your work. You may receive phone calls or Skype messages chasing you for a reply. If this sounds familiar to you, you no doubt experience a lot of stress while working.

We make it Worse for Ourselves

The reality is that we in the workplace want to please our managers, bosses or clients. We therefore respond as soon as we can and often work long hours to meet demands and respond toall emails. The reality is, that by making ourselves constantly available, we create unsustainable expectations. The irony is that the harder we work by always responding and always dealing with client questions, the harder we make it for ourselves.

The solution put forward some years ago was to simply close your inbox and only check it periodically, meaning you make yourself available to respond according to your schedule and not anyone else’s. However, many of need to have constant access to our emails and if we don’t have access to them, we don’t have the required information to do our job.

The answer? F9

A way to help solve this problem is to work offline. By clicking the file tab in Outlook and choosing the Work Offline option, you have access to all the information you need without being bombarded by emails. Once you are ready to look at your emails, simply click F9 to manually refresh. This means you can focus on one task ata time without being constantly distracted. You might think that you are essentially ignoring incoming requests but instead think of it as efficiently managing your correspondence. It is merely a systematic approach to best deal with your communications. 

Ultimately, it can be difficult to tear yourself away from urgent demands for your attention, especially from clients or your boss. But ultimately, if you are going to do your job to the required standard and in a way that is sustainable, you need to work at your pace. And that means organizing work flow around you, not just others. Remember, that if you respond to your boss now or in a couple of hours won’t make that much difference but it can make a huge difference to your happiness and productivity.

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