CareersHow to cope with the flood of emails

An employee checks their emails every 30 minutes every day. Unsplash

Emails are a waste of time. We know that without having to refer to the same age-old McKinsey study from 2012 over and over again. “The average working person spends 28 percent of his working hours reading and answering e-mails,” says Matt Plummer, unfortunately, quoting the seven-year-old study in the Harvard Business Review. Then the founder of the productivity platform Zarvana has some contemporary tips on how to cope with the daily flood of emails in the shortest possible time.

# 1 Check only at certain times

It is not just reading time that makes processing digital communication so complex. Email is so destructive because it disrupts workflows and thus reduces productivity. According to Plummer, most professionals check their inbox 15 times a day, about every 30 minutes. Only around one in ten customers or colleagues would expect a quick response within less than an hour. His advice, which is supported by many experts: It is best to turn off the notifications and reserve around five to eight minutes every hour for reading new messages.

# 2 Empty inbox

Do you read old mail every day? So why is the inbox so littered? Plummer warns: “If we check an overcrowded inbox, it will result in us reading emails over and over again. We cannot defend ourselves against this. When they are there, we read them. ”Even if an old e-mail only takes a fraction of a second, this can add up to many minutes of wasted scanning time per day, according to the productivity expert. He advises limiting yourself to the first contact with every email. It is read and then immediately deleted or archived.

# 3 Search function instead of folder tree

According to Plummer, around every third email is answered at a later point in time. Many people therefore create folders in order to sort the messages according to topic or contact person. Unfortunately, this praiseworthy approach is time-consuming, especially when the number of files gets out of hand. According to Plummer, the average professional has 37 sub-folders in their email inbox. He advises you to use the program’s search function to find a specific email. It may be less elegant, but it is so much faster. And in the daily struggle for a tidy mailbox, every second counts.


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