Spending hours of your workweek communicating is, for the most part, not the most productive use of your time. In an ideal world, communication technologies such as email should enable you to perform your best work, not the reverse.
Regrettably, email has evolved into an all-encompassing mode of communication that may easily consume your day, robbing you of your time and productivity.
We will discuss some practical tactics and solutions for dealing with email overload in this article.
How Does Email Overload Affect Your Productivity?
Email overload is a condition in which you are unable to keep up with the volume of emails you receive or send. It occurs when your inbox contains more messages than you can reasonably process.
So, what are the telltale symptoms that you’re experiencing email overload?
- You continually feel as though you’re falling behind on your email and can’t seem to catch up.
- You’re stressed every time you check your email because you’re inundated with messages.
- You are receiving an excessive number of follow-up emails as a result of your inability to keep up with your messages.
- You are continuously compelled to check your email, even while you are occupied with other duties or attempting to unwind at home.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you are not alone. While email saturation is a daily occurrence for many people, how did we get here? There are numerous reasons why email overload has become such a worry, chief among them being email’s widespread acceptance as the principal mode of internal communication in the office.
This has gotten worse as the remote workforce has grown, and in-person encounters have shifted to email communication. Finally, the real-time and always-on work culture requires employees to be available to answer to emails at all times, including after hours.
All of these reasons have contributed to a scenario in which people are spending an increasing amount of time on email, resulting in a number of negative repercussions, including the following:
- Increased levels of stress
- Difficulty focusing Difficulty adhering to deadlines
- Increased sense of exhaustion
- Reduced productivity as a result of context shift.
These effects are not restricted to individuals; they can have a cascading effect on a team or organisation. So how can you overcome email overload and reclaim your time and productivity?
The Most Effective Strategies for Dealing with Email Overload
1. Email Activity in Bulk
Task batching is a time-saving productivity approach that entails combining comparable jobs and executing them within specified time constraints. This strategy can be used to email by batching all email-related tasks into particular time intervals.
Because reading or responding to emails is not a mentally taxing work, you can schedule time for this during your productive hours, such as early in the morning or late in the afternoon, depending on your chronotype. This method can help you avoid succumbing to the desire to check your email continuously and becoming dragged into an email vortex.
You may schedule time for email-related activities using time-tracking programmes such as Google Calendar. Additionally, you can configure your email notifications to send just within your email activity time windows.
2. Delete Unnecessary Emails
All those nagging newsletters and promotional emails you signed up for years ago but never read might contribute significantly to email overload. Unsubscribing from these emails can help your inbox become less cluttered.
While there are numerous methods for unsubscribing from emails, the most popular is to locate a “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of the email. However, if you have hundreds of email subscriptions, unsubscribing one by one might be a difficult effort. If this is the case, there are numerous tools available to assist you with organising your emails, like Unroll.me, which enables you to mass-unsubscribe from emails in a matter of seconds.
Finally, you can create a new email account for promotional communications in order to free up space in your primary inbox. This way, you can restrict access to your primary/work email address to only the most critical messages.
3. Configure Email Filters
Filters organise your email effectively by automatically sorting messages into particular folders depending on predefined parameters. For instance, you can configure a filter to delete emails from a specific sender before they reach your inbox.
Filters can assist you in more successfully managing your email by:
- Assisting you in remaining organised.
- Preventing your inbox from becoming cluttered with irrelevant emails.
- Permits you to easily locate emails that match particular criteria.
You can create filters in your email client; for example, you can use these intelligent Gmail filters or a service like SaneBox.
4. Make Use of Additional Communication Tools
In an ideal world, email should not be the primary mode of communication at your place of business. You can use email for a variety of objectives, such as keeping a customer informed about a project or delivering long-form material.
Frequently, you can utilise additional internal communication methods, such as:
- Slack is a collaboration and communication tool for work that enables you to communicate with coworkers and teams. It can be used for a variety of applications, including file sharing, group chats, and channel creation for specialized projects.
- The twist is an asynchronous communication tool that enables coworkers to exchange messages without feeling obligated to respond immediately. It’s great for teams looking to overcome constant notification interruptions and regain control of their time.
- Asana is a task management application that enables you to track task progress, share information, and collaborate with team members. It’s a wonderful tool for project-based work or collaborative task teams.
- Spike is a comprehensive email solution that can assist you in overcoming email overload and increasing productivity. Spike allows you to merge all of your existing email accounts, organise your inbox, and collaborate with coworkers.
Reclaim Control of Your Email Inbox for Increased Productivity
Email overload can be a significant productivity drain. However, by implementing the tactics and technologies mentioned in this article, you can declutter your inbox and reclaim control over your email communications, while also increasing your productivity.
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