Steps to Management Success – Step 19: Don’t Become a Slave to Your E-mail

Written By Rick Frishman Published March 31st, 2010


Don’t Become a Slave to Your E-mail

E-mail is great. It can ease and expedite your communications, help you check the status of current projects, and even help you market yourself or your company—but there’s a downside too. If you’re the type of person who goes into shock every time you’ve been away from your e-mail for a few hours, then you know what I mean.

WHAT IT MEANS: Don’t let your in-box run your day. As tempting as it may be to obsessively check your e-mail, your cyberspace inbox is not your to-do list. From a time-management and productivity perspective, you’re better off setting aside a block of time for e-mail—then give yourself long uninterrupted stretches to get regular work done. If a response will take less than two minutes, do it immediately. If it takes longer, be very sure that responding quickly is really the very best use of your time.

ACTION PLAN: How often should you check your e-mail? Some people suggest only twice a day, but the correct answer really depends on exactly what your job and responsibilities are. Also, keep your replies brief and on point. Avoid the urge to elaborate or justify ad nauseum—it’s not necessary, and it wastes time. Think memo, not PowerPoint presentation.

EVEN BETTER: Do you find yourself replying to the same kind of e-mail—or issuing the same kind of e-mail request—time and time again? If so, why reinvent the wheel? Create a folder of boilerplate e-mail replies—and benefit from the amazing power of “copy and paste.”

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)

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