6 Ways Email is Killing Your Productivity—and How to Take Back Your Inbox
byCoolPost8909-15-201607:32 AM - edited 09-15-201608:59 AM
We’ve been hearing about the imminent demise of email for years. Every new chat app, social network, and messaging platform promises to rescue us from the productivity suck that is our inboxes. And these tools are great! They make communicating with people on your team faster, and they can help you find information more easily.
But when you need to connect with people outside your own organization, email is still the gold standard. Everyone has it. You don’t need to know anything about the systems the other person is using, and you don’t need them to be around to respond right when you send your message. That’s why email usage is still growing steadily for businesses across the spectrum, with no sign of slowing down.
According to the McKinsey Global Institute, the average interaction worker spends nearly a third of their working hours managing email—more than any other work activity. That adds up to more than 650 hours a year! But that’s also why your inbox represents your single biggest opportunity to improve your productivity. With just a few simple changes to your email, you can streamline your workflow, reduce your stress, book more meetings, reach more prospects, and make more money.
The first step in this process is to learn to recognize the six biggest email productivity killers:
Interruptions activate the same circuitry in our brains that generates FOMO. Every time we hear or see a new mail notification, we get a tiny dopamine hit, which rewards seeking behavior. Then, over time, we get addicted to turning away from what we’re doing to attend to the incoming mail. And every time that happens, it takes an average of 64 seconds to recover from the interruption and return to whatever you were doing before. If you multiply that by the 122 emails the average business user gets in a day, that’s more than two hours of wasted time. Every day!
Context switching happens every time you move between the different tools you use to do your job. Most sales and marketing teams use more than a dozen different types of software in their stacks, so this time can really add up. To make matters worse, many of these tools are driven by data that comes in via email and must be copied and pasted in to the tool.
Fragmentation is a fact of life for most of us. Almost everyone has at least one work account and one—if not several—personal email accounts. Switching between different email apps to manage each account is another form of context switching and can be a huge time suck.
The inbox firehose is familiar to everyone. It feels like we all get SO. MUCH. EMAIL. But a lot of what we get is alerts, notifications, receipts, or auto-replies, which can be handled and filed automatically before they even hit your inbox.
Rewriting kills productivity when you’re sending the same type of outreach to lots of people. You can hack your way around part of the problem with copy-paste, but it’s easy to forget to replace variables. Have you ever sent a copy-pasted outreach email and forgotten to update the name in the greeting? Yeah... that’s awkward.
Copy-paste is a similar problem to rewriting. 1:1 emails are more likely to land in the inbox than mass mailings, but sending messages one at a time is a slow process.
Combating these productivity busters comes down to three key strategies: focus, prioritization, and automation. Through a combination of discipline, best practices, and tools designed to streamline your email workflow, you can take back your inbox and multiply your productivity.
To learn more about strategies for transforming your inbox into a productivity powerhouse, join us next Thursday, September 22nd for the webinar, "6 Ways Email is Killing Your Productivity—and How to Take Back Your Inbox.” Register here!