“Time Management and Emails: How to Manage Your Time and Priorities”
Time management is challenging enough, but emails add even more pressure to get more work done quickly As a corporate consultant who delivers time management seminars from Hawaii to New York and Alaska to Florida, one of the most frequently asked questions I receive from people looking to get more done in less time, is this: “How do I manage my time when it seems I have too much work?”
Looking to work smarter not harder? You’re in the right place. To use your time at work better, including managing all those emails, here are three tips.
Time Management and Email Tip #1: Shift your focus from “time management” to “priority management.” Henry David Thoreau said, “It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. What are you busy about?” You want to make sure that any activity that you engage in at work is high priority. Who decides “high priority”? You’re right! It’s your boss. Make sure you know exactly what “the sweet spot” is. That’s what I call those activities which most directly and positively support your company’s mission.
Time Management and Email Tip #2: Be aware of how often you check your email and limit the number of times you do check it. Entrepreneur magazine published an article called “Email Is Making You Stupid.” Now, how many times of day, by their own admission, do you think the average office worker checks his email? Would you guess he checks 20 times a day? 30? 40? Well, how about 50! Yes, you read that correctly. I’ve been a corporate consultant and corporate trainer for over 12 years now, and I’ve consulted with and conducted corporate training for over 100 companies a year across the country. So I know for a fact your company expects you to read your emails. But, do you really think they expect you to check it 50 times of day? To help you make the most of this Tip #2, I urge you to keep a running tally of how many times of day you check your email. A while back, I read this quotation: “You have an infinite capacity for self-deception.” Wow. That’s true and powerful! Don’t kid yourself, you’re checking email a lot more often than you think. And, until you start logging it, you’re going to find your time quickly slipping away from you without you even knowing where the day went.
Big problem with email: It makes you feel *busy* but that doesn’t mean you’re working on the high priority activities that help you help your company.
Time Management and Email Tip #3: If you really want to get a handle on time management, the next time you open your email, ask yourself “At this moment, what am I procrastinating?” In the years I’ve been a corporate trainer and coach, I find that clients check their emails most often when they are putting something off. Usually, it’s the “something” that really matters. Maybe it’s harder to do, or more unpleasant. So, instead of acting on the priority, people go to the email. Hoping that maybe, just maybe, there’s something more interesting or more pressing that this other task they really don’t want to do. If you want to get a handle on your work load and start managing your work now, make sure you put these three tips into practice right away. You’ll value how much time you get back to take care of those tasks that really matter.