Why I love email and you can too if you try these extremely easy tips

By Carson Tate

January 18, 2021
 
I am proclaiming my love of email. Now, I imagine you may be thinking, how could anyone love their email?

Well, I do and so can you. Here’s how.

Email = efficiency

Email is the ultimate efficiency tool. By fully utilizing the technology features in my email program, I save hours each week that used to be spent reading, sorting, and filing messages. My messages are automatically prioritized by the sender, so I do not waste time searching my inbox for important emails. When I respond to meeting requests, my calendar is automatically populated with the what, when, and how of the meeting. And, if I am very lucky, the meeting organizer has appended the agenda and the supporting documentation to the meeting request, and I have everything I need for that meeting in one place on my calendar.

Your next steps to fall in love:

    Use labels in Gmail or Conditional Formatting in Outlook to color-code incoming messages by sender priority or where your name appears in the TO: or CC: field of the email message.

    Use filters in Gmail or rules in Outlook to automatically file, delete, and forward messages.

Email = connection

Email is my connection to my clients, vendor partners, colleagues, friends, and family. I stay connected to both my professional life and personal life through one inbox. I know the current status of company projects, tasks I have delegated to my team, and my own task and project due dates. I also know who has a sick child, what I need to bring to supper club, and when I need to schedule my next dentist appointment.

Your next steps to fall in love:

    Use the task manager in Outlook and convert emails to tasks, assign due dates, delegate them to team members, and view them on your calendar. If you are a Gmail user, you can use an app such as Drag, Yanado, or BasicOps to create, track, and delegate tasks.

    Create an email shopping account. Use this account only for online purchases and shopping-related newsletters. Your primary inbox will remain clutter-free and it’s easier to find a coupon from your favorite retailer.

Email = boundaries

Email is an excellent filter of people, projects, ideas, and requests for my time. I can check email when I choose to check it. I use the email out-of-office notification as a boundary around my time—the project time I carve out to do work, my thinking time, and my personal time. Email enables me to filter and then respond based on my priorities so I can work and play from a place of relaxed control.

Your next steps to fall in love:

    Turn off all new email notification alerts.

    Check email at specific intervals throughout your day.

    Add to your email signature when you respond to your email messages.

    Write a rule to respond to all incoming emails notifying the sender when they can expect a response from you.

    Write a rule to respond to all incoming emails that enables senders to access resources and answers without you. For example, include the customer service line number, a link to the quick reference guide on how to update their company profile, or a link to the 2021 vacation policy.

Email = learning

Email is a tool that enables me to continuously learn. I subscribe to numerous blogs, newsletters, LinkedIn groups, and RSS feeds that fill my inbox with new information, courses to attend for continuing education, and generally expand my knowledge base. Email makes it easy for me to learn from a variety of people and organizations.

Your next step to fall in love:

    Set up a learning folder and either write a rule (Outlook) or use a filter (Gmail) and automatically file your newsletters, webinar invitations, and opportunities for learning in one place so you can quickly and easily sort and prioritize professional development opportunities.

What if this month you look at your inbox differently? What if, instead of loathing it, you decide to look at it as a tool that supports you and the life you want to lead? How might your relationship with email change?

So, how do you love your email? Go count the ways.


Carson Tate is the founder and managing partner of Working Simply, and the author of Own It. Love It. Make It Work.: How to Make Any Job Your Dream Job.

 

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