Time is the most valuable asset of any business – it’s a cliché for good reason. And unlike the money you invest in training or infrastructure, it’s something you can never earn back. According to Business Insider employees in the US spend a quarter of their workweek dealing with a deluge of email. The constant interruptions can sap workday efficiency. Developing better time management habits can yield positive results right away. Revving up productivity in the office by decluttering your inbox isn’t just good for your business – it’s good for your employees, home life and health.
“If you don’t take control of your notifications, they will take control of you.” – Mario Aguilar, Gizmodo News Editor
Only get the emails you need
No matter how far technology progresses, email remains constant. As an integral part of business interactions, it’s in the best interest of the business to keep extraneous emails to a minimum. But with spammers becoming better at dodging standard filtering systems, that’s easier said than done. To ensure the important emails don’t get buried, eliminate spam by adding an additional spam blocking system to your existing filters. A system that distinguishes humans from automated senders and customizable queues are your best bet. You’ll save time scouring through tons of emails and be able to find important emails faster. Spend some time setting up the filtering system to your specifications, and clean out your inbox once and for all.
Turn off notifications
Gizmodo News Editor Mario Aguilar turned off his notifications, and had a revelation: “If you don’t take control of your notifications, they will take control of you.”
Ignore the siren call of Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat by turning off notifications. Or set Do Not Disturb rules on your phone to limit pesky notifications throughout the day. Even if you don’t check the notification itself, concentration is still disrupted, and getting back in “the zone” costs time. Protect your work groove by turning off notifications on your computer and phone when you’re powering through a project. By limiting distractions, you’re increasing your focus and getting through the work faster.
Write better emails
Not all clutter is spam. A message with 20 CC’d recipients and a “reply all” button can bog down your inbox just as quickly as all the newsletters you never read. Writing for the Harvard Business Review and Entrepreneur.com, venture coach Stever Robbins suggests leading by example. Start by sending clear, concise emails only to the key players of a project. Spell out what action you want accomplished, and which recipient you expect to carry out the task. You’ll save your employees tons of time by cutting down emails they don’t need, as well as decreasing the likelihood for follow up emails by making your expectations known immediately.
Set actionable goals
In the spirit of being concise, giving employees clear direction the first go-round is your best bet for increasing productivity. “Deciding what to do is important, but often deciding what not to do is even more important. Every position, every project, every initiative has a primary goal, and 90% of the effort of those involved should go to accomplishing that primary goal.” Jeff Haden wrote for Inc.com.
Once you’ve decided the goal, focus on the few tasks you “must” do that will create the largest return on your time investment. By removing extraneous tasks and being clear about goal the company is trying to accomplish, your employees’ efforts will be better focused and more successful.