Despite many instant messaging tools, we all still primarily use email for our business communications.
In fact, over a 100 billion emails are sent and received in a day!
Having said that, email does have its own flaws. The good news though is that with some tips and the right tools in your arsenal, most, if not all of these flaws, can be fixed.
Here are 5 reasons why working with email is hard, and how we can fix it.
1. Half the world is trying to spam you
Spam is undeniably a serious problem for email users. Despite blogs and media sites swearing to you that they won’t misuse your email, they end up doing that and you just can’t point out who the culprit is. Before you know it, your inbox is flooded with all these unwanted and potentially harmful emails.
Although the spam filters of email providers have gotten pretty good, this problem still persists on some level.
Here are some tips to counteract spam:
- Encrypting your email address is a good place to start. Email providers such as Outlook and Thunderbird allow you to encrypt your email address and offer a bunch of other security enhancements.
- You can also add filters to your inbox to filter out unwanted emails.
- Another way is to use a secure VPN for all your internet browsing, free email protection for your smartphone, and a required USB-key email entry.
2. Too many emails – information overload
So you subscribed to a bunch of blogs you like and these email newsletters are cluttering your inbox or you just have too many social events going on at the office and your colleagues are bombarding your inbox with emails. What do you do?
Here are some tips:
- First, declutter your inbox. Unsubscribe from as many as possible. Only keep the subscriptions which really interest you.
- Use folders and rules to keep emails organized. For example, keep a separate folder for social engagements and a different one for team meetings etc.
- Roll all your email subscriptions into one email using Unroll.me – a great tool, which completely declutters your inbox in one go.
- When you use email add-ons for your inbox, ensure that the design of these tools doesn’t end up cluttering your inbox.
3. As the volume of the email increases, it can get hard to assign tasks and track them
Say you are a project manager and every day in the morning the first thing you do is assign the day’s tasks to all of your team members, imagine how energy-consuming it can be if you have to spend hours doing this.
The traditional way of assigning tasks is by forwarding emails to each team member and asking them to finish the task. This can be a very difficult and an inefficient way of doing things.
Project management tools such as Hiver work in tandem with email. They not only allow you to easily assign tasks to your teammates but also track the status of these tasks just as easily.
Collaboration within the team is highly essential to be productive and without the right tools email can be detrimental to effective collaboration. Using the tools which can convert email from a mere communication tool to a collaboration tool is the key to winning this game.
4. Typing responses to every single mail can be a tedious task (especially for a heavy influx)
This might not seem like that big of a problem until you start receiving hundreds of emails every week. Typing responses to each and every email can be quite a monotonous task and is probably not the best use of your time .
Here are some ideas:
- Hire a virtual assistant. Many professionals do this. It allows you to spend more time on things that really need your attention than on exhausting unproductive tasks such as adding a signature to your emails.
- Make use of templates. If hiring a VA is out of budget for you, the next sensible step would be to prepare email templates and keep them ready. You can have templates for each scenario, for example, one for social emails, one for colleagues, one for task assignment, one for team meeting etc.
- Make use of tools that can lighten your work. For example, make use of Wisestamp to create a perfect signature and just use it everywhere.
It is important to ensure that most of your day doesn’t get consumed in non-productive email writing.
5. It can be very addictive
We deal with many emails every day, reading them and then replying to them. Most of us have the bad habit of checking our email at least 4-5 times within an hour.
This can seriously affect your day and your productivity. If you know how to manage yourself email can be your best friend, otherwise, your worst enemy.
Luckily for us, there are a number of ways we can counteract this problem:
- Switch off the notifications, so that you are not tempted to open your inbox every time there is a new email.
- Use apps like Inbox Freeze, to block out email for chunks of time. You can unfreeze once every few hours.
- If you deal with huge volumes of important emails every day, then you may want to consider hiring a VA or outsourcing your email management.
Like the many tools we use, email also has its shortcomings, but if we can work around them it is one of the most powerful, easy-to-use, popular business communication tools. If you add the right extensions, you can also use it as a project management tool, sales support tool and more.
Source: Business 2 Community