The average person spends up to 28 percent of his workweek going through emails.
That probably seems pretty marginal for some, but if you add on the extra workload that accompanies being an entrepreneur, you can imagine that the amount of time spent reading and replying to emails doubles or even triples – making it difficult to get much else done in the day.
To minimize the amount of time spent sorting through emails (so you can spend more time getting actual work done), consider introducing new practices into your weekly email routine. There are hundreds of self-help guides on the Internet -- each claiming to decrease email inefficiencies and increase workflow -- but those can be a bit overwhelming
Luckily, I have read, implemented and refined almost every email hack procedure that exists, and compiled a process that can both help you save time and maintain effective communication.
Related: 5 Tips to Take Control of Your Inbox
1. Not all conversations are meant for email. Some email threads could easily be solved with a simple phone call. Keeping an eye out for opportunities to tackle issues in person or over the phone can save both parties a lot of time. Hopping on the phone is also wise if an email thread has led to a disagreement or a heated debate.
2. Create tags for your emails. One way to help organize your inbox is to create tags. For instance, you can label emails “NC” for not critical or “C” for critical. Then, you can set up filters that forward these to certain folders for prioritized reading.
3. Reduce unnecessary noise. If a long thread has begun with multiple employees CC’d, identify who doesn’t need to be there and move them to BCC. Explain in your reply who was BCC’d and why. This practice can save your employees a lot of headache and wasted time.
4. Adopt Twitter habits. Using the “@” sign to indicate action steps within an email thread can prevent items from getting lost. This enables employees to quickly scan emails to see if they’re mentioned (e.g. I’m going to have @Jay from my team set up a time for us to discuss the deliverables).
5. Get rid of the fluff in your emails. Every email you send should have a clear and concise direction. It should be well-thought out, friendly, short and error-free.
6. Trust your team to get the job done. There is no need for receipt confirmations such as “got it” or “OK.” You should have the confidence in your team to assume these answers.
7. Learn how to boomerang. You can use the Boomerang app to preset when messages recycle into your inbox. Depending on the importance of the message, you can have them reappear in days, weeks or months. This will de-clutter your inbox and help you follow up on important email threads. You can even set up a boomerang for a to-do list and have it emailed to your inbox occasionally for fresh reminders.
Copyright © 2013 Entrepreneur.com, Inc.