Guess what; we all have the same 24 hours in our day and yet one of the biggest challenges facing most business people and business owners today is not having enough hours in the day to get everything accomplished.
With computers and technology, business is moving faster than ever and your customers expect a much higher level of “Speed of Service” than ever before.
In this article I want to deal with one of the biggest time-wasters facing both corporate executives and business people alike. Email has become a very important business tool and at the same time checking emails has become an addiction for many business people. I’ve worked with two business owners in the last year that have both admitted to me that they check their emails constantly (up to 18 times a day)! Just by having them turn off all the email reminders and sounds on their computers and having them schedule 2-3 times daily when they will check emails, both of them have admitted to gaining at least one hour per day…based on a five day work week, that’s a whopping 260 hours a year, or 11 extra days, that they can spend doing something more productive.
Here are the steps to set you on the way to eliminating your email addiction:
- In Outlook 2010 go to “File”, “Options”, “Mail” and under the Message Arrival header uncheck all four boxes. Your emails will still show up as always, however you won’t get the annoying reminders.
- Now schedule a couple of times per day that you will check emails and limit this time to 30 minutes per session. This forces you to move quickly through your emails, so you don’t waste time. Set a timer if you have to and keep it visible.
- Next; while checking your emails decide immediately what to do with each email. This is where the 6 “D’s” come in:
- Do it; if you can handle it within a maximum of 4 minutes, do it and delete it.
- Delete it; make a decision to get rid of it, because you don’t need it.
- Delegate it; if it can be dealt with by someone else on your team, or by a different department then forward it with a request and put it in a folder to follow up on.
- Date it; for emails that require you to do more than 4 minutes work, but not right now, just use Outlook’s “Move” button and move it to the “Tasks” folder with a reminder date set.
- Drawer it; for emails that you just needed to read, but want to keep, just move them to a Personal folder that you have set up in Outlook.
- Discontinue it; by unsubscribing to it. Ask yourself, “Is this important and do I usually read it when it arrives?” If the answer is no, then unsubscribe.
Congratulations! You have now probably gained an additional hour per day back.