Email: Cool It

With email having become the defining communication method of the modern workplace, we would assume that it is unequivocally here to make our lives easier. However, this assumption has been undermined by many claiming that email can overwhelm in terms of sheer volume, resulting in the slow down of productivity. This is an argument proposed in Smashing Magazine in this article.

But what can we do to make sure that email remains a useful, rather than distracting and work-intensive phenomenon? As Smashing Magazine claims, we can put email on a diet. Here’s our own take on what can be done to cool it with email, resulting in more work and even a better relationship with clients.

Tip 1: Turn your email client off. Studies have shown that checking your emails just a couple of times a day can increase productivity by up to a third. Instead of interrupting your concentration by constantly checking and responding to every message in real time, allocate a period each day to go through your emails. Your head will be in a better place and your work will be stronger and completed faster.

Tip 2: Put it on the laterbase. The sky is very unlikely to fall in if you don’t respond to email messages straight away. Why not flag an email that requires action and leave it until you can respond at your own convenience? If a client has an urgent query, you always have your telephone on standby.

Tip 3: Talk, don’t type. Speaking of which, a very short telephone conversation may be the antidote to a lengthy typed conversation and endless email trail of misinterpretations and lost information. Speaking to a client can really help to clarify ideas, dispel any basic misunderstandings (whether personal, practical or creative).

Of course, it is vital to keep a strong communication channel open with your clients, but it can be counterproductive to your client list as a whole, as well as your workload (and mental health!) if you spend a greater part of your day typing away and achieving little else. While email has made our lives easier, we do need to rein it in sometimes, to ensure that the opposite doesn’t begin to ring true.