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Who’s creating business email overload?

Friday November 9th, 2018, 11:14 am

Suffering from chronic business email overload? Like many business executives, you probably receive about 50 to 70 emails a day which is one new email every six to nine minutes. What if you could reduce that to a more manageable number eg 40 to 50 and use the time for other more productive tasks? That is a common question posed in Smart Email Management workshops. Is it even possible?

The answer is yes.  But to do so you must first identify who is causing the email overload.  Heaven forbid, could it even be you through your leadership style and email behaviour?

Three quick and easy steps to enable you to identify the business email overload culprits.

  1. Sort the inbox by person to identify the top five senders.
  2. Review the content of those top senders’ emails. Is it Cc’d emails; Reply All; emails directly to you; unnecessary but maybe polite responses to your original emails eg Thanks.
  3. Determine why they send you so much email. For example:
  • Are they replies to emails originated by you.
  • Do they feel you need to be kept in the loop.
  • Have you asked to see everything they send on certain topics (because they are perhaps new joiners).
  • Are they email chains related to the same topic which would be better discussed but you rarely have face-to-face meetings with the sender.

Now you are in a position to reduce your business email overload.   Five possible quick ways are outlined below.  Which ones you choose depends on the outcomes from the review above..

Five ways to move forward and reduce business email overload immediately

  1. Making more time to talk to people.
  2. Sending fewer emails yourself.
  3. Re-affirming your trust in individuals who persist with the Cc to you on their every action.
  4. Stepping back as a whole and delegating more.
  5. Initiating some basic principles of email best practice, which include when to use email and when to use an alternative such as instant messaging and talking.

Thus the key culprits causing email overload may not be solely the other senders.  In part it might just be you, through your management style and over reliance on email.  This is the part which is harder to change.

Do you want to create more time in the day by reducing email overload through techniques like these?  Contact us now to discuss how our Smart Email Management workshops, coaching and webinars can help you and your colleagues.