Do you ever get to the end of your work day feeling exhausted and accomplished only to glance at your to-do list and see you’ve only checked off a few tasks? This is me to a T.
I knew I was hustlin’ all day, but I had nothing to show for it. Where was all my time being spent?
Emailing is the Biggest Time Suck in the Modern World
I realized I was spending sooooo much excess time going back and forth with clients instead of focusing my attention to my actual assignments. I would partially complete the assignment, whether it was creating a graphic design, writing a blog post or creating content, and then feel the aching anxiety that I needed to open my inbox to make sure all was OK and see if there was any further communication being directed toward me.
Enforce an Email Budget to Increase Email Efficiency
Limit Yourself to no More than 3 Emails to the Same Person or Client
Sending and receiving too many emails per day stresses people out and is straight up unhealthy. Even. Researchers from the University of British Columbia say so.
Out of necessity, a Digital Nomad learns tricks to increase email efficiency because we value the time of others, and our own time. We appreciate and welcome alternative methods to doing things because, hey, we’re adventurers by nature.
- In bullet points gather your thoughts, include your progress on any outstanding tasks, your questions for the client, any attachments or reports you need to send for approval. Send it all at once.
- Your 2nd email of the day will be a followup of what you’ve discussed so that you can begin implementation.
- Your 3rd email is a freebie for any followups for questions from both ends, to be used sparingly.
Without stressing about checking any unread messages or being distracted by new mail, you will be able to concentrate more effectively and bonus: since there is no communication clutter, you can use your bullet points in your email as a no-frills daily to-do list.
How Does This Boost Productivity? 3 Reasons
1. I am easily distracted by nature. For me, starting and completing a single thing at a time is much more efficient than working on several things at once. So clicking back and forth between my inbox and other open tabs gets me incredibly sidetracked. After refreshing my email and going back to where I was previously takes a few minutes for me to refocus. Now multiply this several times a day and you’ve easily just spend an hour or more reading, replying, and refocusing on your actual work.
2. When your client feels like they can email you changing their minds after you’ve already completed what they wanted in the first place – this is a problem. It is impossible to do your job correctly if you’re not given specific direction. And if you are getting specific instruction, and then implement precicely what was asked, there should be little wiggle room without a gentle reminder that both of your time is valuable and endless corrections are an impediment to everyone involved.
3. The amount of reduced anxiety and stress alleviated from internally deciding how I was going to control my inbox vs. my inbox controlling me is insurmountable. And because of this, I am free to see projects completed from beginning to end and allow my creativity to be set free without interruption, which promotes better results for everyone.
To increase email efficiency, you must stick to this rule unless it’s an emergency. I know how tempting it is to get sucked back into the black hole, but it’s important to hold this rule for yourself and others.
Organize Your Inbox by DAY Rather Than Subject
If you take a look at your inbox, I bet you have several ongoing email threads for different subjects, back and forth to the same person. Before I became a Digital Nomad, my typical email inbox at any given time had several messages discussing graphic design approval, blog posts, assignments, general maintenence questions and more…. simultaneously.
You know that this creates? A mess.
And also, a significantly wide room for error between you and the receiver. There are so many chances for a miscommunication or simply forgetting one of the things you were waiting for.
Check your email in chunks rather than as they stream in throughout the day.
Set a Precedent and Use This Canned Response
A sample email for the beginning of your work day would ideally look like this:
This is most likely going to only work for those who are self-employed or freelancers, but it’s a good template to follow for all email communication.
“Please note that due to high volume of workload, I check and respond to normal emails only twice per day.
Your communication will receive a response within 24 hours.
Thank you for understanding this move to create more efficiency and effectiveness. It helps me to accomplish more and serve you better.”
Tools to Help You Succeed
SaneBox– SaneBox learns what email is important to you and filters out what isn’t — saving you from endless interruptions.
OtherInbox– Manages email overload by automatically organizing emails into subfolders like “Coupons” “Shopping” or “Work.”
Boomerang – Schedule emails that you can send at a later time. Perfect for nomads who work in odd timezones.
If everyone – clients, bosses, co-workers adopted this method of online communication, we could all could save hours of inefficiency, back and forth, and miscommunication. What do you think? How do you keep a sane inbox? What are your tricks to increase email efficiency? Let me know in the comments!