7 Ways High Performers Conquer Email
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They always add value.
Before you send a reply, ask yourself: are you responding just to reply, to show you’re paying attention, or just to say “thanks?” If so, you’re typically wasting time that could be spent producing something of value and only encouraging people to respond, thus adding more email to your inbox.
They prioritize replies.
Give yourself freedom to delete messages that don’t require a response and/or from strangers. If you don’t have the time to complete your essential job functions, answering miscellaneous emails needs to fall off your to-do list. This saves you time by avoiding typing up the reply and reclaiming the mental space it takes to think about how to respond to random messages where the appropriate answer is unclear.
They use standard responses.
Text expanders are tremendously useful tools that you can use to quickly reply to emails that need a simple standard response (some text expanders for OSX are available here, here, and here). Text expanders, which are simple to use and inexpensive, allow you to type a two- or three- letter abbreviation that will expand to phrases like “Thanks! All the best, Elizabeth” or “I’ll take a look at the material and get back to you soon. Regards, Elizabeth.” You can also have entire paragraphs of text show up for commonly needed responses. This can cut down answering time from minutes to seconds.
When possible, they bypass email all together.
If you find that the response would end up being too long by email, pop over to someone’s desk for a face-to-face chat or give them a call. A five-minute conversation can straighten out an issue that could have led to an extended email debate that would have disrupted an entire day. Particularly when emotions, miscommunication, and/or complex coordination are involved, consider transferring the discussion from email to another mode of discourse.