Email Tip – Forget Real Time Email Response

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Really, Do You Have to Look at Your Email Now?

Email Tip - Forget Real Time RespnsesBuilding on our email tips from a few weeks back, I wanted to start sharing some tips to improve your productivity with email. I know most of  these will sound common sense but let’s be honest, how many of you responded to an email on your mobile while having a conversation with a friend?

Email Tip – Do not respond in real-time!

Seriously, this email tip is a very simple effective way to get the most out of your email communication. I know many people live for the “Ding” or desktop notifier from their email client. This was never designed to condition you to jump when it went off. It is not an experiment in behavioral response, however that is what it has become for many. The “ding” hits them and they jump!

Remember, most of the time the reason someone is sending you an email is because they do not have the time for a conversation anyway. Your responding in real-time sets up an expectation that this will be the way the email communication will continue from that point forward. Now you are not only disrupting your workflow you could also be disrupting someone else!

How do I stop?

So the best method is first, don’t check your email in real-time. This will make you feel like you have to respond in real-time. So set a schedule to check your email 2-3 times per day during business hours. Next, set a response time goal – this will also help with the email that you do not want to respond to. I would suggest 4-6 hours during business hours and if at all possible do not respond to business email on the weekend. If you do business email when your out of the office set the response time goal to 12-24 hours.

What does this do for you?

Using this email tip will help you be more productive at other important tasks and you will find within a week or two of practice you will really start getting stuff done! Second, when you give it time to respond you will be able to provide a more detailed response. Let’s face it, email communication is hard to convey emotion, tone etc. so the better thought out your response the less chance of confusion from the reader.

Flickr Photo by Steve 2.0

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