Alright – quick email tip for those of us who have a tendency to think we need to respond to email quickly at the expense of focusing on real work:
▻▻ You can be responsive without responding substantively.
Here’s what I mean: let’s say you get an email that is important but the world won’t end if you respond later today, tomorrow, or even later that week. (aka most email for most people)
Even knowing logically that the email’s not urgent, some of us have this urge to respond right away to show we’re responsive, value the person, or who knows why – we just do (and I speak from experience).
But here’s the thing: dropping your planned work (e.g., drafting a brief) to respond to that email can eat away at 20+ minutes of brief writing time and interrupt your flow if the response requires thought and maybe some research. (many, many emails you get)
Multiply that across all the emails you get in a day, and it’s no wonder you end the day wondering where it went and feel like you spent the day reacting to what others wanted from you – not what you knew what was important.
Let’s change it up a bit.
Instead of responding substantively to the email, try responding with something like,
“I’m on it. I’ll circle back with an update / answers within a week. Let me know if that timeline doesn’t work for you.” [Note: Build in wiggle room to your promised turnaround time]
Then, calendar the 30-90 minutes it may take you to respond to the email – at a time that works for you and everything else you have going on.
This helps you:
have the person feel taken care of
quickly get back to your real work, keeping you effective and on track; and
manage your own stress because you know you have protected time in your calendar to deal with it, so you won’t forget.
So, what do you think? Could this work for you?
We go over other email and time management tips in my group program, and the amazing women I’ve been able to work with across industries always have incredible suggestions and tips. We kick off on April 30! You can learn more about the six-week program here.