Here are 5 neat and one quite brilliant pieces of advice on how to reduce the number of messages you have in your inbox. Take a look!
How many emails do you receive per day? And how many unread messages you have at the end of the week? On average, we send and receive up to 100 emails per day and spend 13 hours reading & preparing them! It’s a lot of time we could use for much more important and interesting tasks. But how do you get rid of all these “urgent” messages crowding over your inbox? Here’s what to do to reach inbox zero :
Exhaust the topic, not the recipient
Send emails that contain all necessary information, so you don’t receive a stack of messages with additional questions and requests for clarification. It is better to spend a long moment in the beginning and prepare a reliable message than to send a brief message quickly and then answer tons of follow-up questions. Reliable, however, does not mean lengthy. Focus on facts and express what you expect to achieve with each recipient. Understatements can generate a flood of emails… and even phone calls!
Don’t mix subjects
It is good practice to describe only one problem in one message and give it a clear title. It helps organize correspondence and make finding information easier. Thanks to this you will limit the number of unnecessary emails with repeating questions.
All Saints in the CC
Many companies require their employees to use extensive address lists when writing emails, so that no one involved in a project is left out. But the better part of your recipients will answer you with some meaningless information, not really contributing to anything. Thus, you receive further unnecessary emails (and autoresponders). Also, avoid sending group messages – to entire departments or all employees in the company. Unless there are other rules in the company, only include people really participating in the project.
Throw fastballs in chat
Using applications that support teamwork (Slack), allowing you to group channels, subjects and messages, helps to reduce the number of emails by up to half. Thanks to messengers such as Skype or Talky you can get an answer to your burning question much faster. Chats and messengers are great for short, specific tasks that require immediate and focused attention. With these messages, you don’t have to compete with dozens of other important emails in the inbox. Try this strategy for reaching inbox zero.
Don’t send emails after business hours
Access to email on a smartphone which we always have at hand means that we look into the inbox even after office hours. It’s an unhealthy habit that doesn’t allow us to rest and regenerate after a whole day. Some companies even prohibit such practices. For example, Porsche (Financial Times) has decided that outside of working hours employees should be protected from work-related emails. There is a rule in the company that all correspondence between 19:00 and 6:00 is returned to the sender. So don’t send any emails after you have left the office, contrary to appearances, they will not speed things up…
Replace emails with the application
All five of the above advice, although correct, will not eliminate the problem fully if the majority of administrative or operational tasks in your company require sending an email anyway. Do you need an important file? You have to send an email. Do you need a report? Again, you send an email. The boss must accept the budget? You send him an email. Do you want to take a day-off? You send an email. Do you want to remind the employee to send back an important statement? You send an email. It seems that it cannot be bypassed or skipped. Nothing could be more wrong.
Most of the matters that currently require sending requests or email approvals can be easily and quickly automated. How? All you have to do is transfer these processes (business travels, employee’s expenses, vacation requests, budgeting, etc.) to extremely simple and fully self-service business applications. The Qalcwise platform has ready-made applications that you can adapt to the specifics of your company in just a few hours. And immediately share them with colleagues, without the need for time-consuming and costly implementation involving an IT team.
How does it work? First of all, Qalcwise applications allow you to create any forms, applications, registers or schedules. Secondly, they allow you to quickly and conveniently fill them online, set automatic reminders and requests for acceptance. Thirdly, thanks to the graphical representation of the workflow, you can check the status of your task at any time. You don’t need to send additional emails asking what is happening with your application. By setting the appropriate rules and giving employees access you can easily empower all coworkers and conveniently manage any tasks.
Thanks to the automation of all activities in the process, you will not only shorten its handling time but also improve communication. Employees will only receive the necessary email notifications that require their actions. And their response can be limited to one quick click (confirm/reject), without the need for unnecessary correspondence. Voila! You’ve achieved Inbox Zero! Doing it Qalcwise way, you will finally stop the flood of emails and regain even 13 hours of weekly work time. What will you use them for?