PHOTO: Warner Brothers Pictures
What if I told you there was a way to become better at your job, happier in your work and more efficient in general?
"GIMME GIMME GIMME!"
Emails can ruin your work life and even your personal life but only if you let them. It's all about managing them right.
It's time to take control. You are the boss of your emails. Your emails are not the boss of you.
Here's how to get on top of your emails and the control they have over your lives, both professionally and personally:
1. Separate professional and personal
Keep separate work and personal emails and be really strict about it. You don't want to come across work issues, at the same times as checking personal emails on a weekend, as then you'll feel obligated to address them. Weekend gone.
Also, never send work emails from your personal email account and vice versa.
2. Set your email hours
This is key. Just as you have work hours, dedicated specific hours for email-checking. Just because your boss sends you an email at 10pm doesn't mean you have to respond at 10pm. There aren't many bosses who would even expect you to.
Try and only open your work email address at work. It's a great way to start your working day to get in the zone.
3. Organize yourself
Set up easy-to-understand email folders and file, file, file. You should be able to find important emails at a moment's notice. You should also get into the habit of saving any emails that may be needed for issues that could potentially arise at a later date. If you know it's a sticky situation, file all emails related to that situation to cover yourself when the time comes.
Remember, the first time you do this will likely take a while. Grab a cup of tea, treat yourself with a snack and dive in.
4. Stay organized
Each morning while checking your work emails, file them as you go so you don't end up with 2,000 emails in your inbox. Nothing is more deflating than seeing hundreds or thousands of emails in your inbox, many of which haven't even been read.
File them as you go.
5. Action immediately
As you check your emails each morning, action them as well. As you read them sit there with your notebook, make a to-do list and respond to as many emails as you can. That way you can file them, knowing they are dealt with and not erased.
Don't put off what you can do now. It's a great rule not just for emails but for all work tasks.
6. Keep work emails off your smart phone
This might seem unrealistic but if possible, it's a game-changer. If you don't trust yourself to stay away from your work emails during private time (i.e. out of your scheduled email hours), don't have your work email on your personal devices.
By only being able to check your emails on your work computer, it's a great way to maintain separation between work and personal life.
Make sure to set up an out-of-office message during those times you won't be checking emails. This means people who do try and contact you during these times know exactly when to expect to hear from you.
7. Back up
As well as filing your emails as you go, you should also back them up. Some workplaces will back them up for you and it's worth asking HR about this. If they don't, set it up yourself.
There's nothing worse than losing all of your work emails and all of those contacts and correspondences.