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Learning email time management, especially Outlook email management, is simple and will free up at least an hour a day you are wasting.

Email time management is easy once you know how.  Email is the most efficient, and yet, non-productive, time sucking, and distracting way to communicate.

Rule number one for email time management: shut off that damn notification alert that tells you that you just received an email.  Good Grief!!!!

You are sitting at your desk, highly-focused, knocking out a proposal, and Bling-Bling, you are alerted that you have an email.  The email is spam regarding winning an African Lottery. 

What do we do?  We break our concentration, stop what we are doing, and check to see what email we just got.  Unreal!  Now you have to go back, figure out where you left off, re-focus, and begin again.  This is not email time management.

This happens all the time.  When it kept happening to me when I was writing my book, Corporate Infantry: Everything I know about Corporate Sales I learned in Combat, I finally broke down and figured out how to stop the notifications.  

Often times because of that email notification distraction our concentration is broken, and we will get up, get a coffee, bump into a co-worker… We end up losing 15 minutes of productive work time.

To turn off email notifications from your inbox, click on Tools, Options, make sure you are on the Preference tab, click on email options and then advanced email options.  De-select the notifications. (This is for Outlook 2007, I am sure 2003 is similar.

For more time management tips like that one, click here.

IT (or any computer geek) can even set it up filters so that you are alerted only when you get an email from your boss, your spouse, your kids, you subordinates…

Now that we have that settled, lets get into how email time management works.

I am an incredibly busy, and I get a boat load of emails.  Guess how many I have in my inbox?  Seven.  I have seven emails in my inbox.  Three of those are from my mother.  (I don't want to read them, but don't have the heart to delete them.)  The others came in since I started creating this page.  

Email Time Management 

An inbox ladies and gentlemen is not a filing cabinet.  I by no means am organized, but my inbox is!  Here is how I stay away from a prickly email inbox; I use CACTUS for email time management

I only open up an email once.  I then either Complete It, Another It, Create a Task It, Trash It, Unsubscribe It, or Store It.  By only opening an email once, I only have to read it once and decide what to do with once. Too much time is spent opening the same email over and over again. You open it, decide it ins't pressing, and you close it.  The next day you spend half the time opening the same emails from yesterday, re-reading them again to remind you what are about, deciding they are not pressing, and closing them...  This is not effective email time management.

Open your emails once and CACTUS them.

Create a Task:  If is not something that I can do in 3 minutes, then I create a task for myself.  It is really easy to do. Right-click on the email.  A window will open and some files will be present.  Click on Move to Folder. Scroll down and click the Tasks Folder.  The task folder will open up, renamed the email/subject if you wish, categorize the task, set a deadline, and save it.  Isn’t that great?

For extensive time management techniques involving tasks click here.

Another It:  If it is something that needs to be done but not specifically by me, then I delegate it.  You could forward it on, but how can you be sure that it is going to get done?

You right-click on the email.  A window will open and some files will be present.  Click on Move to Folder.  Scroll down and click the Tasks Folder.  The task folder will open up, and you add a due date.  Then you assign or delegate the task to whomever, and hit save it.  Isn’t that even greater?

Again, for extensive time management involving tasks click here.

Complete It:  It is open, I read it.  Is it something that will take me less than 3 minutes to do?  Then I knock it out, and delete it. 

Trash It:  Okay I read it, it doesn’t apply to me, no one I know needs to know about it, or they were on the distribution list already, I won’t need it for further reference, or it is spam...  It is trashed.

Unsubscribe It:  Is it coming from some list I signed up for that I am no longer interested in?  So I unsubscribe from it. 

Store It:  I read it, no one I know needs the info or they were included in the distribution, but it contains some information that I may need some day.  I save it into an appropriate file, I Store It. As a short cut you can again right-click on the email.  A window will open, select “Move to Folder”.  Scroll down and click the folder you want to save it in, and save it in that file.  

You can add information from emails to your calendar the same way.  Say someone emails you directions to an appointment.  You right-click that email, and select “Move to Folder”.  Click on the calendar folder, open the appointment, and paste the email right inside the appointment, and save it. 

It is also a  great way to keep track of items to discuss at weekly meetings. You simply save an email which topic you want to discuss in the appointment on your calendar.

That is how you become a pro at email time management.  This system especially works well with Outlook email management.  

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