Are You Drowning in E-mail?
Learn to Reduce Email Overload By 54%
E-mail is Making You Stupid! At least, that’s what a headline in the March edition of Entrepreneur Magazine claims. But that’s not all… a survey from the Radicall Group says we are in for a 42% increase in e-mail traffic between 2010 and 2012. If you think you get too much email now, the survey projects that we’ll go from 294 billion pieces of e-mail traffic to 419 billion. We’re all drowning in a tsunami of e-mail overload!
The article in Entrepreneur Magazine put this issue into a perspective that every organization in the world can understand. The cost to performance resulting from this tsunami of e-mail (which I call the “digital deluge” in terms of stress and hard dollars) is extraordinary. Here’s an example of the cost of this phenomena from the article: “Computer chip giant Intel, for one, has estimated that e-mail overload can cost large companies as much as $1 billion a year in lost employee productivity. The intrusions are constant: each day a typical office employee checks e-mail 50 times and uses instant messaging 77 times, according to Rescue Time, a time management software development company.”
The Gulas Group, using the Priority Management System, can reduce e-mail overload by a whopping 54%. This figure is proven by post survey averages of 225 client companies’ worldwide and over 2,000 individuals who participated in our training for using tool boxes such as Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes. In the state of Alabama we were able to improve a global manufacture’s e-mail overload problem by improving results over 66%!
The Gulas Group employs a systemic process to accomplish such outstanding successes for our clients. Some of the strategies we deploy to beat this e-mail “digital deluge” is first to work on changing behaviors. Most interventions like this fail because too much focus is on the tool and software. More focus must be placed on an individual’s behavior, and most importantly, on the team or organization’s behavior. At the Gulas Group, we take a holistic approach and work to change the team or organization’s behavior to create “organizational consistency.”
“Organizational Consistency” simply means using the software tools proactively, not reactively. As a result, everyone is doing the right thing, for the right reason, at the right time. For instance, “Organizational Consistency” includes things like eliminating multitasking, scheduling an email appointment, and not opening your email program more than four times a day. When you do open your inbox to check your mail, spend no more than 20 minutes per session so you create a sense of urgency to Decide, Do, Delegate, or Delete.
Other proactive approaches and important behavior changes include making sure your software does not automatically open to the inbox folder and turning off e-mail alarms. In addition, we teach the “four D” formula for managing e-mail overload. The four D concepts include understanding how to Decide when (date activate for the future), Do it now, Delegate it (collaborate or share the work), or Delete/Dump it.
An important way to reinforce behavior change is to have a clear path of best process behaviors mapped out. The Gulas Group uses ten best practice processes that become routine behavior changes to manage the e-mail overload beast. Here’s a sample of a few of those top ten best practices. Number one on the behavior change list is to convert your e-mails into tasks, appointments, and contacts. You can do this by learning how to right–click, drag-and-drop, and insert hyperlinks.
The next process, and probably the most important, is learning how to clear your inbox every day. Don’t use the inbox as a catch-all folder for everything you need to work on. This one new behavior, habit, routine or process creates controversy because some people we work with can have 1,000 or more e-mails in their inbox. The problem with having all of your e-mails stored this way is one day the corporate IT department is going to clean out the servers to free up disk space and all that data will be wiped out. These software tools were designed to be contact sensitive, so learn how to use folders like Contacts to store and activate tasks or appointments for follow up, and how to insert attachments with hyperlinks for future recall. The great thing about using this process is that you can also use the Activities tab in Contacts to get a list of every single activity you had with each of your contacts. This is a little known tip that benefits many leading organizations.
You can learn more about the type of results you can achieve to successfully reduce your email deluge by visiting the link below.