Are you overwhelmed by your inbox? Whether you receive several emails a day or hundreds of them, David Guest, Melbourne business coach, brings you some simple tips so you can improve your time management when dealing with emails.

Don’t waste your most productive time of the day on emails.

Emails, although important, are not the most important part of your job.

An important question to ask yourself for effective time management is: when is your most productive time of the day? Use that time for your work. Your email isn’t going anywhere, you can come back to it.

1. Set aside times.

Use effective time management to set yourself times to read your emails, give yourself an hour or two a day. This way, you can bring your unread email count down to zero and then go back to focus on your work.

Turn off your automatic email notifications. Remove the distraction and come back to your inbox at a set time of your day.

2. Respond to important emails straight away.

When you read through your emails and you come across an email that needs your attention, reply instead of waiting until you’ve finished wading through the rest of the emails in your inbox.

3. Keep emails succinct and short.

Only respond to emails with essential information. Also try to avoid mixing topics as the reader will not want to respond if there are too many issues or topics raised.

4. Ask yourself these questions.

Why are you writing the email?

What do you want the receiver to do with the correspondence?

What information do you and the receiver share?

What does the receiver need to know?

5. Re-read your email.

Avoid confusion about your correspondence by quickly re-reading your email before sending it. Auto-correct technology can fix a spelling mistake, but it isn’t always right and it doesn’t re-write a poorly formed sentence.

Make sure your effective time management is not wasted by a misunderstood email.

6. Bridging emails.

Respond with a quick acknowledgement if you are unable to respond straight away. Such as, I have received your email, but I am unable to respond right at the moment. I will respond to you in a day, a week etc.

7. Create folders, use flags and build a filtering system for your emails.

Create folders in your email account; as you read through your emails, drag your emails to the relevant folder. You can also setup automatic filters so that emails will go directly into into specific folders. This removes the clutter of your inbox and will also save you time to find emails later.

Utilise the flag and label system now readily available in most email software—for example, red for priority and green for information you can use later.

If email is still a burden to your time, organise to discuss your options with David Guest, Melbourne business coach.