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How to avoid email overload

Do you find the frenzy of business emails virtually unmanageable? The impact of rising email volumes can take even the most organised respectable business people to breaking point. But managing your emails properly could give you three extra weeks per year to spend running your business.

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Do you find the frenzy of business emails virtually unmanageable? The impact of rising email volumes can take even the most organised business people to breaking point. Read our top tips to manage your emails properly - and reclaim up to three weeks you could spend focusing on your business. Whether yours is a large company or a small family business, you no doubt find it difficult to stay on top of your emails. And now, with the introduction of smart phones and mobile technology, email has become a 24-hour phenomena - and even harder to avoid! Therefore, adopting a work ethic which avoids confusion and distraction requires a behavioural shift. Your inbox is not your task list This is a common problem and it causes you to feel overloaded earlier and leads to missing or losing important messages and actions. Separate your inbox and task list to avoid confusion. Change your mindset – think of emails as backups If an email contains a necessary action, add it to your task list and close the message. Get yourself into a routine where your task list tells you what to do rather than your inbox. If something is not important enough to have a deadline, file it in an ‘action' file and leave it off your task list. Delete emails after responding Don't let old emails build up in your folders. If you need to keep a copy, file it beneath a relevant client or project name. Use your filters as much as possible Most email packages will allow you to filter emails into folders depending on the subject or sender fields. The less time you spend manually filtering messages, the more time you release for profit-related activities. These simple tips can make an enormous difference to profitability. If you can reduce the time spent battling with the crossover between email messages and your task lists by as little as thirty minutes a day, you immediately free up more than three weeks a year. About the author Business coach Jon Baker is the founder of Venture-Now. He has 25 years of experience in managing, training and coaching within the business sector and he also lectures in finance and business studies at the Open University Business School.

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