12 ways to stop email insanity

You’ll improve your efficiency and streamline communication with this nifty dozen tips.

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Ragan Insider Content

I’m amazed that my clients, associates, and friends who complain about never having enough time in the day to complete their critical tasks don’t realize one of the biggest contributors to their time management issues: inefficient email use.

It’s my view that email is one of the business world’s biggest time-sucking culprits, not to mention one of the worst communications tools we have. In fact, I believe it should be branded as the best tool for miscommunication!

But there are things you can do, starting today, to lessen how much time email takes from your day. I realize you may respond to some of these recommendations with gasps, head-shaking, or disbelief. Good! If I don’t challenge some of your long-held misconceptions about email, it will keep preventing you from being efficient.

1. Turn off your new email arrival notice. The human brain takes time to recover from interruptions, and regain one’s focus. And yet if you’re like most communications professionals, who hear a “ping” every time you get a new email, you’re asking to be interrupted multiple times per hour. How does this make sense?

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