Kendell Dorsey, Dorsey Consulting Services
Email can be one of the biggest time fillers of all! When we think about work life balance, e-mail can be one of those things that really sucks up work time.
The goal is to leave work having completed your tasks and being able to focus on your personal life after hours. The truth is that can be easier said than done at times. The fact is often there is more to do within the work day than time to do it. Here are some thoughts on how to minimize email’s impact on your work day.
Scan early in the morning
In the education world, there can often be information in email that you may need to know for your day. I would always include a brief scanning of my email email into my daily routine. I would not do much replying unless it was quick. The goal is to ensure there is nothing major I need to know for the day and if there is I can catch it. I would save more closer reading and detailed responses for later in the day unless I had additional time in the morning.
Use folders and forwarding rules to your advantage
You can create folders in your email and have rules automatically forward particular email to a specific folder. The great part about this is you could have folders for emails from particular people. If there is a daily or weekly bulletin you can have them all in one place. In addition, when folders have unread mail you have an indicator right away to check that specific folder. To learn more about how to create folders and rules in Microsoft outlook, click here.
Read it once and then take action
This is great for email and regular snail mail. Really work to read mail one time and take action. If it is snail mail, trash it or file it for saving. E-mail should be regarded in the same way. File it in a folder for later, flag it for action or delete it.
Email at lunch
Part 1 of this series was about scheduling. I would encourage you to consider reading and responding to email during lunch time. The time is short and forces you to focus on getting it done. This allows you to have your full planning time for other tasks.
*Leave it for last*
Email can and will suck up your work time. Opening email can often lead to more tasks outside of those you want to focus on. The worst is when you’re on your plan bell, you open your mail and there is a message from an angry parent. Then you find yourself re-reading the message, looking up evidence, crafting a response and BOOM, it is time for your next class.
MINDSET SHIFT! If you had to chose work to take home why not have it be e-mail. Think about it — email can be viewed and responded to any where from a smart phone. You can check email at the mall, waiting in the car line for your child, sitting in your PJs in front of the tv. You can answer email at any time during day at your convenience. Most importantly, you don’t have to carry home a bag of papers or curriculum materials to check email. Minimize email being a time filler during times when you want to be the most productive.
Looking forward to Part 3: Finding time! 🙂