Emails and “E-motions”

Emails and “E-motions”

Email management . . . it has been one of my greatest time management struggles throughout my career. How do I keep up? How do I get ahead? And, how do others do it?
There are times where I have to start by clearing the slate. I did this yesterday – I moved all emails more than 3 weeks old to a separate folder. Ahh . . . my inbox was manageable again. I tell myself that I can do this! And then today, the number of messages in my inbox had grown exponentially. I feel like I’m in a losing battle. But who or what am I battling? Myself, all those people trying to communicate with me, my workload, my time, my perfectionism, or something else?

We Are In This Together
I know I’m not alone in this struggle. I see the automated replies in my inbox: “Please excuse my delay in responding – this is one of our busy times of the year and I’m playing catch-up with email,” and “It has been CRAZY on my end.”

As I devote time to reading, replying, filing and deleting new email messages, I think about people I’ve met who do an amazing job keeping almost nothing in their inbox. It appears to me they have figured out how to control the “e-motion” that comes with communicating with others via email.

E-Motions in E-Mailing
So, what “e-motions” slow me down? It’s the many anxieties I stir up when I’m uncertain what to do with each email. How do I frame my response? What specifically do I say? Do I have time to read through each email?

Or, an e-mail may require me to do more work before I can complete my response. Is that what I should be doing with my time right now? For another email, I may be waiting for a response. If I file the email, will I remember to come back to it if I don’t receive a response by a certain time?

Think About Connections
When I take a step back, I realize my emails are about creating or sustaining some kind of connection with others. When I think of it like that, all of the sudden the process becomes easier.

So, how do I better manage my emails and my time? I do whatever works for me on any given day . . . the key is what best creates momentum. I may decide to start with the easiest, or the oldest, or today’s newest emails. I consider all of my tools . . . moving older emails to separate folders, flagging and filing emails for follow-up action, etc. As I complete each method, I move on to the next. Momentum has started!

Find What Works For You
I don’t have to stick to a specific method or process. I have a firm belief, similar to when I coach clients, that there isn’t one right way to accomplish a goal or create momentum. It’s whatever works for me, or whatever works for you, at any time. For me, it’s about having structure with flexibility . . . using a mix of my analytical mind with other practical skills. Using both structure and flexibility may be difficult, but I find it can be very beneficial.

Just start. Find how to best power through your emails and your “e-motions.” Create momentum!

No Comments

There is no comment for this post

Leave a Reply