How to manage your inbox
Business executives receive a lot of emails. From employees seeking clarification on project guidelines to peers pitching new opportunities and more, it can sometimes feel like the avalanche of oncoming messages leaves little time for the other important work you have to get done.
Fortunately, there are ways to manage your messages that can help you stay organized and save time, avoiding the common pitfall of losing too many valuable work hours to your inbox.
If you’re considering Executive MBA courses, or you’re finishing up your program, here are five tips for better email efficiency in your career.
Sometimes emails can run long because the sender is worried about sounding rude or dismissive, padding out a short directive with a lot of polite but unnecessary fluff. Other times, they can lay out relatively simple tasks with a degree of detail and complexity that only makes them harder to understand. Students earning their business degree should master the art of writing emails under 200 words while still getting their message across in a positive tone.
If you’re finding it hard to get a message under 200 words, you should be asking yourself if email is really the appropriate medium for what you’re sending. In many situations, email might not be the most efficient means of communicating something. If an issue is particularly sensitive and you’re worried about conveying the right tone, or if it’s particularly complex or nuanced and you’re finding it hard to be brief, then you might want to consider a phone call or an in-person visit instead. Just remember the valuable communications you’ve learned in your business training and pick whichever medium is most suitable for the conversation.
Graduates of an Executive MBA program know the importance of avoiding overly vague subject lines. These make it harder to find an email later and don’t give the recipient any hint as to what your message relates to. It will also make it harder to sort through your own replies, as your inbox fills up with dozens of emails with subjects like “Re: Question.” Instead, be specific about the topic under discussion and, if necessary, the urgency.
Letting emails pile up only creates more stress, and ultimately, more work, so try to keep your inbox at zero. Some graduates of business executives university set specific time aside during their day to go through their emails, rather than being constantly distracted by incoming messages. For others, this might not be an option. Either way, every new email should be immediately answered, archived, or marked down as a task to complete later. Just don’t let unread emails linger or pile up in your inbox.
Folders are a great way to keep your emails organized, making it much easier to track old messages even if you don’t remember the sender or subject line. The exact system you should use will depend on your specific work and preferences, but you might consider a folder for each project you have on the go, or folders for each of the departments you regularly communicate with. You can also keep a folder for messages you’ve put aside to answer later. Whatever system you use, make it a habit to immediately tag emails into their proper folder as soon as you’ve opened or read them.
Are you looking to take your career to the next level?
Contact WU Executive Academy today for more information about our Executive MBA courses.