Email Organization Tips That Improve Productivity

Thank you Stephanie Shalofsky for providing these great tips:


Before delving into most projects, it is very beneficial to look at the big picture to ensure that all the available data points have been taken into consideration.  This is the exact approach that I would recommend prior to applying some basic email organization tips that will help improve your productivity.  For many, email is the preferred means of communication for addressing business as well as personal issues/questions and subsequently significant chunks of time are spent daily on email.  In reality, email delivers new tasks and the real work begins once the new messages are processed. Here are some suggestions for improving email productivity that you may want apply in conjunction with the other email organization tips that you may already be applying,

1.       How many messages are currently in your inbox?  The majority of the people that I ask either really don’t know or don’t want to share the real number.  In order to effectively implement any email organization tips, you must be able to truthfully answer this question and also have a handle on the number of emails that you send and receive daily.  In all probability, you will find that your daily activity is around 115 messages/day which is the average for most business people.  The last bit of data that you should gather is the quantity of read and unread messages currently in your inbox.

2.       Incorporating the Hawthorne Effect in your email management strategy could help increase productivity.  Applying this psychological phenomenon isn’t difficult.  Just start by paying more attention to your email management habits by simply tracking the amount of time spent on email related activities. By simply doing this, you may consciously or subconsciously start to adopt more efficient email habits.

3.       Are the email organization tips that you are currently applying the best ones for you?   It is a good idea to periodically assess your procedures for managing email.  Life happens and business priorities change which may necessitate developing some new habits for keeping the email under control. Be sure to focus on changing only one habit a time, be committed to practicing the new habit daily and accept that habits can take 4 plus weeks before they are ingrained in your daily routine.

4.          With email, productivity can be lost in small chunks of time so the impact may not be immediately apparent. As a Professional Organizer in NYC, I always make a point of sharing this next tip with my clients.  Consider that each time the email alert sounds and distracts your attention from the task at hand it will take you 4 minutes to resume work on that task.  If this only happens once or twice during the day, the impact on your productivity is minimal.  However, if this happens 10-15 times a day which is more likely the scenario, these interruptions could have used up 60 minutes of your day.

Once you have accepted that you need to be very proactive in establishing and practicing efficient habits for managing your email, these email organization tips should put on you the path to far greater productivity.



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