Proper Email Management for Greater Efficiency

Businessman Pushing Mail Sign by FrameAngel

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Email is both a great productivity tool and the world’s biggest time suck. It’s a conundrum that faces all businesses, whether they have one employee or tens of thousands. Without taking some steps to ensure its efficiency, businesses may find email getting in the way of meeting deadlines, goals and client needs. Despite it being an effective communication tool, email also has the potential to be a huge distraction.

Email statistics now through 2017

From 2013 to 2017, the number of email accounts will increase from 3.9 billion to 4.9 billion. During this same period, business email accounts will grow from 939 million mailboxes to 1.1 billion by the end of 2017. The majority of this growth will be in cloud-based hosted business email accounts, such as Microsoft Exchange. But consumer email accounts far outnumber business accounts with consumer email recording 76 percent of all email accounts. This statistical advantage in the number of accounts will continue through 2017.

Despite the numerical advantage in mailboxes, business email is the predominant source of email activity, with over 100 billion emails sent each day. By 2017, business will send over 130 billion email messages daily. Clearly, managing this huge amount of email requires business people to initiate efficiencies.

Email handling software/hardware

One thing that makes email far less valuable is the amount of spam or junk mail that goes out each day. The research shows that 66 percent of all business email is junk mail. This much junk mail is akin to a plague that’s killing email’s usefulness.

Different varieties of software, hardware and combinations of both can be used to filter spam. Some block spam completely, whereas others segregate it to a spam or junk mailbox. Unless you trust the setup completely, segregating junk mail and then reviewing later is the best solution to be 100 percent accurate. That way an important email getting trashed by a spam service becomes less likely.

Handling email efficiently

Frankly, the best way to handle email efficiently is to control as much of it by yourself. The following are four tips to make handling email as systematized as any other business task:

  • Email as an agenda item: When an alert announces a message has arrived and you read it, you’re inviting distractions to your work day without a solid block of uninterrupted work time. Schedule email as a daily agenda item. Some people choose the middle of the day, just before or after lunch and handle all email at once. Others may choose one or two times, such as first thing in the morning and the last thing in the evening. Finding a time and sticking to it helps in taming the email beast.
  • Fulfill the email when reading it: Emails require action. An informational email needs filing or deletion. Some emails require scheduling a meeting or phone call and others need a response. Whatever action is required, doing it at the time of reading is the most efficient process to use.
  • Use filters and folders: Inboxes should have zero new mail after processing. If something isn’t deleted, it should be moved to a folder. Folders can be created and be organized by contact, topic or alphabetically, any way a user wants them. In addition, email programs have filters that automatically sort email for you. This reduces the steps a user needs to process email.
  • Be an example: Keep emails on topic, concise and devoted to a single subject, the one in the subject line. Aids for keeping email short include bulleted and numbered lists. Since email is a different form of communication than face-to-face, tone is important. Using a neutral tone is best as it is devoid of emotion that could be misinterpreted.

Keeping email organized is a little like taming an addiction. When your inbox is out of control, use these tips to help conquer it.

About Emily Miller

Emily Miller is a marketing professional and small business blogger who studied English and Small Business at Indiana University. She is currently writing to help startups and small businesses implement technology solutions for their companies.