We had hoped technology would give us more time, more resources and more capabilities for better time management. However, it seems to cause us to use more time. In addition to all the meetings and luncheons we attend, we are constantly looking at our phones: answering and sending emails, texting, tweeting, blogging and so on. Experts say the average business professional receives 80 to 120 email messages each day. Yet, 60% of our daily emails aren’t relevant to our work. So as you can see, technology has only increased our workload, not decreased it. So what can you do? The answer is simple: to succeed, great time management skills are critical.
Better Manage Your Time With These Five Useful Tips
Tip #1: Turn Off Your Email Alert
You waste a lot of time looking at each email as they come in. Studies show when you interrupt your work it can take up to 64 seconds to recover the pace of your workflow. That is 8.5 lost or wasted hours per week if you check email every 5 minutes.
Tip #2: Set A Specific Time To Answer Emails And Return Phone Calls
It may be first thing in the morning, just after lunch, or just before leaving for the day. The time of day isn’t important, rather find a time that works best for your schedule.
Tip #3: Color Code Your Emails
Assigning your emails a color, and assigning each color a category, helps you better manage your response time. As an example: use red for “answer ASAP”, green for “gather information before answering”, and yellow for “waiting for responses”, and so on.
Tip #4: Create A Separate Email Address Or A Reading Folder
We’re willing to bet you subscribe to a number of industry specific or educational email lists for professional development. Create a folder and store those emails in a different place other than your inbox to minimize distractions. Save the emails you wish to read later, and don’t forget to clean that folder out at least every other month.
Tip #5: Answer An Email In Bullet Form When Possible
Sending a great email is key. Our quick tip is this: put what you want in the subject line, use a professional tone and be brief in your correspondence.
Consider this quote from Anny Cox: “If you wrote yourself a mental check at the end of every day for the minutes and hours you used effectively, what would it total? If you billed yourself for the minutes and hours wasted, what would the amount be? Would you wind up with a net profit or loss for the day?”