Having a full email inbox is an immediate source of stress. It reminds you of everything you are not getting done at that moment. To combat struggling to answer your messages, learn how to take control of your inbox.
Schedule Email Checks
Set up three times to check your email throughout the day. Reading your messages first thing in the morning, after lunch, and near the end of the day will make them more manageable. Beginning at the top of your inbox, process one email at a time. Use the four Ds model (delete, do, delegate, defer) to decide what to do with each message. You can delete the email if you do not need it; do whatever is being requested; delegate it if another team member can handle it; or defer the message to a more appropriate time. Avoid letting people, phone calls, texts, or other distractions interrupt you. To help stick with your schedule, turn off or mute your email notifications so you are not wondering who is trying to reach you. Also, avoid checking email when you lack the appropriate time to respond, as you may not be able to handle a pressing issue for many hours.
File Email Messages
After reading your messages, file them. Email is a delivery tool, not a reminder to complete tasks. You waste time by searching your inbox for what you need to work on next. Instead, respond to your simple and urgent messages, file those that do not need to be addressed, and flag the ones that need more thought. Create folders in your inbox, sort your messages that need action, and set a calendar to remind yourself to revisit messages with a deadline.
Use Other Forms of Communication
Find ways other than email to communicate. For instance, if you need something in less than three hours, call, text, or visit the person. Modeling such behavior encourages co-workers to do the same, effectively reducing the amount of email everyone receives. Also, if you are discussing feelings rather than facts, figures, or documents, call the person to talk. Because feelings can be misinterpreted, email is for communicating facts. Even a voicemail provides voice inflections and other verbal aids to help the receiver recognize your intent. Additionally, avoid hitting “reply all” when it is not necessary, as everyone may reply to you.
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Does your staffing agency need help with back office tasks that cause you stress? We are ready to help. Contact USA Staffing Services today to learn more!