You’ve been there before. Your email inbox is cluttered, and hard to navigate. The affects that has on your time management are detrimental to your overall productivity. Leaders of organizations need to be efficient at what they do above everything else. Time is money, as the saying goes. Thankfully, there are some ways to make Outlook much more productive for you.
The first way for you to do this is with email batching. Basically, this method involves grouping all of the similar tasks you have together and then doing them all at once. In terms of productivity, it can’t really get any better than that. It can be easy to get distracted during your work day, so using email batching allows the leaders of your company to do what they do best. A lot of people lose time in between tasks, so it’s important for you to keep moving right onto the next one. You will get much more accomplish this way.
Using Xobni along with email batching will get you the best results. Xobni is an Outlook add-on that goes through emails and creates an automatic address book. What this does is show conversation threads and attachments you’ve shared with every single person you’ve contacted. It creates a miniature profile of the person by displaying that persons phone numbers, Facebook accounts, and more. The Xobni add-on for Outlook is a must have tool for leaders and regular employees alike. It is a faster way to read your conversations and find information about someone.
Here are my tips for digging your way out of the email black hole:
- Download Xobni and install it along with your Outlook. Xobni is just inbox backwards if you didn’t catch that yet. Go to Xobni.com for the download.
- Navigate to the Xobni tab in your Outlook once you’ve installed it and run “Xobni Analytics.” There are multiple reports that range from how long it takes certain people to respond to you, who you email the most, how long you take to usually respond, ect. The most important report here is “Mail Traffic.” Navigate to this one and change the view to “Hourly Average”
- I have attached an image below so you can see my email traffic. I receive most of my emails around 9-11 am and 2-4 pm.
- Set one or two times a day when you will “do” email. I email at 11:30am and 4:30pm. This way I have waited for my box to fill up, then I empty it. Wait again, empty again. The times I do this at maximize my response time so it seems to the people receiving my emails that I’m on Outlook all day. In actuality, I’m barely on it.
- Review your response time by running the same report every month but make sure you click “sent” as well. Make sure your sent emails are close to your peak “receive” times.
With the amount of emailing we do now a days, nothing is more tedious and interruptive than your inbox. To increase your productivity, decrease your interruptions. Be strong and don’t check your email or even have it open, other than the times you have decided you need to in order to seem responsive.
As a side note: many emails will prompt an action. For example a customer needs to know when an item will ship, if you can delegate this, then forward their email on. If you can’t, then respond telling them that you are looking into it, then add it to your to do list for tomorrow. If I get an email like this at 4:30pm, I respond, so they know I care, but honestly I’m not going to do it today, so I add it to tomorrow’s to do list. I try to bust out the things already on my list when I arrive at the office. Then it’s mostly cleared up for the next time I check my email, so I can add the new tasks, and so on.