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Most people who work in an office environment have their email open during their entire workday with alerts on their mobile device when they aren’t in the office. It’s standard practice. Keeping up with your email is essential to being productive, but when the average person spends two hours per day on work email, according to Business Insider, productivity goes out the window.

Here are a few do’s and don’ts to streamline your daily email routine. If you implement these tips, you could cut back on email interruptions by up to 50%.

  1. Do use canned responses
    Setting up canned responses could save you a ton of time. If you’re typing out the same things all the time, keep them as canned responses with shortcut phrases that will autofill that typical response. This is one of those things that will add up over time. It might not feel like it saves you a ton of time on one email, but think of how much time it could have you over the course of 100 or 200 emails.
  2. Don’t receive the same alert for every email
    If every single email that hits your inbox gives you the same alert, you might be interrupting your day dozens of times for things that don’t require your immediate attention. For urgent messages, messages from clients or your boss, you can have a different alert than you have for all of the other emails and updates that hit your inbox. This can even include a text message.
    This tip goes hand in hand with the last tip because it will decrease the number of unimportant emails pulling you away from your work. With time, your inbox can start to get junked up with newsletters, special offers, promos, and more. Buckle down and start unsubscribing. You don’t need to waste your time hitting delete on 25 messages a day that you don’t even open. Just think of what you could accomplish with 25 fewer interruptions per day.
  4. Don’t use your email as a to-do list
    Use a real to-do list tool. If you are an Office 365 user, Microsft Teams has you covered. There is also Asana and Trello. The unimportant things will get pushed to the bottom of your inbox if you use it as a to-do list and this can create a hectic end-of-the-day routine.
  5. Do use the three-minute rule
    You’ve probably heard of the three-minute rule. When you receive an issue or request via email, ask yourself if you can solve that issue in less than three minutes. If the answer is YES, go ahead and complete that task. If the answer is no, move the task to your to-do list. This will save you the time of scheduling small tasks for yourself and will keep you from getting sidetracked.
  6. Don’t have your inbox open all day
    Can you even imagine this possibility? For specific chunks of time in your day, it’s ok to get out of your email completely. You can also set yourself to do not disturb when you are working on something that takes a lot of brain space. It’s a great way to buckle down and accomplish other things, and if you use the text alert tip for certain emails, you can rest assured that you aren’t missing out on anything critical.

The biggest thing to remember when working on your email management skills is to cut out the little interruptions. The second thing to remember is that a lean inbox is a happy inbox. Email connects us in a way that can make it feel like we need to respond to each and every email and respond quickly, but with these tips, you can avoid the panic that comes with an unorganized and over-cluttered inbox; saving yourself hours per week.

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