Are you frequently in “email jail” where you can’t send an email until you delete some messages? Has underwriting ever closed out one of your pending loan applications because you failed to respond to an email request buried deep in your inbox? Were you ever unprepared for a meeting because you didn’t open an email with key information about the client’s needs?
If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, then your email is out of control. Never fear – these hacks will help you regain and keep control of your unruly email.
1. Filter your inbox.
Your email client can do quite a bit of filtering and sorting for you. Consider creating a CC: folder and having email on which you’re carbon copied sent directly to it. You can read and file the email in this folder when you have time. Make sure your co-workers are aware of your system so they don’t copy you on emails where they’re asking you to act on a time critical task. Yes, people really do this!
2. Manage internal spam.
Company announcements, reports and other automatic communications are important but aren’t usually time critical. Don’t let them clutter your inbox. Set up an auto-file rule for each type of automatic communication. When you’re ready to read them, you’ll know where to find them – sitting quietly in their sub-folders.
3. PUFF! Pick up the freaking phone.
How often do you waste time exchanging numerous emails with a co-worker about an issue trying to make a point or understand hers? Many times, a five-minute phone conversation will save you time, avoid frustration, and strengthen your relationship with your co-worker. When in doubt, err on the side of calling when the topic really warrants discussion.
4. Manage space constraints.
Do you run up against email size limits set by your company? When this happens, you can’t send emails until you delete some or saved emails are automatically deleted to keep you under your limit. Go to your sent items and sort by size. You may be horrified by the large file attachments you’ve sent to others. Do a block delete of those large sent files from time to time. Save large attachments you received via email to your computer or file server and then delete the emails to which they’re attached.
5. Don’t miss important emails.
No matter how well you control your email, there may be days when checking it isn’t your top priority. Yet, even on those days you don’t want to miss important emails from your boss or key co-workers or stakeholders. You can set up automated “Important” or “VIP” tags for emails from these individuals. Make sure you are actively managing these tags so they reflect your current priorities.
Yes, putting these hacks into action may take some time. Ask yourself this, “what happens if I fail to take control of my email?” The time you take now will save you a great deal more in the long run. Configure your email software and let it help you control your email. Then, make a habit once a month or once a quarter to review and update your auto filter rules and such.
For those challenging times when you need to get things done effectively, try these tips & tricks. Life Hacks for Retail Lenders