Over the years, emailing has become an indispensable part of professional communication. However, many professionals struggle with anxiety due to an overflowing inbox and not enough time to answer every communication in a timely manner. Zeroing your inbox is like chasing a moving target: as soon as you get close, another round of emails sets you back to the beginning.
It’s been shown that sending emails makes people feel like they did something productive and it even releases a burst of dopamine to the brain. The problem is that emailing people won’t actually get things done or decrease your anxiety. Create a well-devised plan to stay on top of your inbox without losing too much time for other important work you have to do.
Block off time.
Rather than spending your day chipping away at a neverending inbox, designate a few different times each day to answer your emails. “Checking as you go” gives off a feeling of accomplishment, but the reality is you’re spending valuable time that should be used for more productive purposes. Dedicate less time to the back-and-forth email chains and more time to the important projects and meetings that will better your business. Some emails are urgent and should be responded to as quickly as possible, but in most cases they can wait an hour or two. Keep this in mind to help alleviate the burden of stress hanging over you.
Be realistic with yourself.
There’s going to be some days where you simply don’t have the time to respond to everyone – and that’s okay. Prioritize your emails from most to least important and respond to the most time-sensitive messages first. Be honest about your workload and tell people when you’re falling behind. Your response rate won’t always be the fastest, but your colleagues will understand why there’s a delay on your end.
Cut to the chase.
According to research, more than 43% of people don’t read long-winded emails. Longer messages are often deleted or(if you’re lucky) skimmed over quickly. When you compose an email, keep your audience’s attention span in mind. If you decide to send a long email, be sure to highlight and underline the most important details.
Focus on drafting clear and concise emails to prevent any miscommunication. If an email takes more than 5 minutes to type, it’s likely too long or detailed to be handled properly via email. Set up a call or meet face-to-face, and you’ll resolve the situation much sooner.
There are plenty of ways to avoid email anxiety, so you shouldn’t let your inbox dictate how you feel anymore. Set aside a few blocks of time each day to go through your most important emails, and understand that you might not get to each one right away. Compose your emails so they’re easy to read and won’t take up a lot of time for the recipient.Use proper grammar and punctuation to avoid potential misunderstandings. Create a strategy using a few of these tips, and your inbox will no longer seem so intimidating.