I freely admit to being an email and social media junkie. One of my obsessions is clearing my inbox daily and posting multiple times on social media daily. But that isn’t necessarily work I get paid to do so I can’t and don’t spend my day at it. The best advice I was ever given about email is “Be your own boss. Your inbox is what other people want you to do for them.” Over the years, I have acquired through trial and error and formal training some productivity boosters that work for me. Here are three:
Booster 1: Be disciplined with your time
My friends all know that if something is not on my calendar, it isn’t happening. That includes time for managing email and social media. Every morning when I begin work, I check my emails and my feeds. I set a timer (yes, I am that crazy) for one hour. That’s the time I give myself to clear the decks from the night before. I have FOMO (fear of missing out) so, I can’t start my day without a check in.
After the bell rings, I set my clock for another hour and start tackling the day’s “to do” list.
Tip: Use one calendar for everything. Find a calendar system (paper, Google, Outlook, fridge magnets) and just use it – just one. Multiple calendars just waste time
Booster 2: Take advantage of scheduling tools for social media
A lot of my morning emails are from subscriptions I have from several outlets. Rather than put these into a folder to read later, which I never do, I read them. If there are articles of interest, I respond/comment, schedule on my own feed or share with individuals who I think might find the information helpful. After the post is scheduled, the email can be deleted.
Tip: I personally use Hootsuite to do my posting but there are lots of other programs out there.
Booster 3: Touch each incoming email only once
We are all guilty of this at some point. An email comes in, it is going to take some time or additional thought to respond, so we leave it in our inbox where it stares at us each time we open our mail. Instead do something with each email: answer it, put the response time in your calendar, delete it or file it. If you are working on a project with many people, set up a file folder for any email related to the project. Now, any email you get about the project has a home. If the email you receive has work involved for you, schedule time on your calendar to get that work done, tell the team when they can expect a work product from you by replying to the email.
Tip: Decide about what to do with each email when you see it. Don’t let your inbox become a stressor.