I love the New Year… and making New Year’s Resolutions. It feels like you get a brand new start to getting things right. Getting organized is the second most popular resolution (Losing Weight is #1) so we’re going to give you a series of posts on saving time by getting your emails organized this year.
What are the main reasons that email takes so much of our valuable time?
I am going to look at the common reasons. I’ll also give you some basic ideas on solutions that we will explore in more detail in later posts.
1. It is difficult to know what emails are important
Because of the sheer volume of emails, it is difficult to know which emails we should work on first. As a result, we spend a lot of time on unimportant emails… while important emails stay undone.
One solution for this is to only keep emails in your Inbox that you still need to work on and use Outlook’s flags to highlight more important emails.
However, unless you are very disciplined, you may find that you still end up with too many emails in your Inbox.
2. It takes too long to keep emails organized once we’re done with them
We need to keep emails or future reference. We need to keep them in a way that makes them easy to find in the future… and we need to be able to keep all related emails (sent and received) in a way that they are easy to retrieve them together when we want them.
The easiest thing to do is to create folders for your emails and then drag and drop them.
However because this process is very manual, many people tend to leave the emails in their Inbox or Sent Items folders which makes emails harder to find… and also harder to work on (see point 1 above).
3. We spend too long writing the same emails over and over again
A lot of the emails that we write are very similar to emails that we have written before… at least parts of them are the same. Instead of automating this, we tend to redo the same work over and over again.
For example, I often need to send our bank details to corporate customers. Typing it in each time (even if I copy and paste) can take 30 seconds or more (I need to find the old email to copy from first).
Outlook has some things built into Outlook such as Quick Steps and Quick Parts that can eliminate most of this rework for you.
A quick question for you…
I am going to do follow-up posts to offer solutions to the problems we identified above. I want to make sure that I focus on topics that you are actually interested in.
Please leave a comment below and tell me..
What email related issue is wasting (costing) you the most time?
7 Replies to “Why does email waste so much time?”
I appreciate all the tips and techniques on organizing email better and the ways to be more productive. Thank you!
I have Emailtags and it has changed my life even though I’m still using OL2007. The emails I get from church members are completely unorganized, no one uses the same terms that would be helpful in finding notes again (nor should they be expected to since this is not a company with email policies, but a non-profit group of similarly motivated members of the public). So instead of hundreds of folders and occasionally copying emails to more than one folder, I’m now able to add multiple tags. Even then I’m finding I have so many tags sometimes it’s hard to use the same ones again (thanks for the “recently used tags” feature -that helps a lot). So I’ve got my email fairly well organized for the past couple of years. My question now is – how do I make emails that were archived from 3 and 4 years ago searchable with tags? I can select a folder from my old system of filing and use the folder name as a tag to tag all the emails and file them in the archive for the year but if I then select a subset of those emails and apply a tag to that subset I don’t know of a way to add the second (or more) tags to the first for a group. I will never be able to do this one message at a time. I assume there may be many of your customers in this situation – how do we apply multiple tags to groups of existing messages when we start using EmailTags?
I have a small property management company handling vacation rentals in a resort area. I would like to capture reservation dates in one calender for multiple proprieties so I have one go to list to see who is coming in with links to email and cell numbers. I would also like to capture past customers into a distribution list or contact folder that I can access via emailmerge which I already have for a different application.
Congratulations on your blog and every good wish for success. I don’t want to appear negative but you asked a question! The one related issue that is wasting my time is Email Notes. I have had nothing but problems with it. Any problems that I reported were dealt with very efficiently but did not resolve the problem. I installed it on new computer, thanks to instructions provided by you. Every time I went to download emails, Outlook was blocked. I have had to disable Notes yet again and this has resolved the problem. This is just a sketch outline of the problem.
It is a nightmare tracing mails and downloading important attachments. outlook certainly provides an alternative to organizing and accessing mails and I love to use it
writing the same emails over and over again
too many emails in inbox. Difficult to know which are the important ones