time management tip # 1: the email trap

Despite all the technological advances we have made over the past 20 years our workload has increased.

Wasn’t all this technology supposed to make things easier for us?

While the Internet has given us access to knowledge that previously only corporations had access to, a strange side effect has been that now we expect answers faster than ever before.

If your life is anything like mine, you wake up each morning to find your inboxes filled with messages from friends, clients and relatives.

On a typical day I get between 10 and 20 newsletters that I’ve signed up for, 5-10 junk mail messages (the ones that manage to avoid the spam blockers), 5-10 messages from close friends and anywhere from 5 to 50 messages from clients.

A few clients have told me that there have been days when they have spent close to half their entire work day just responding to emails.

For all their convenience, emails tend to take us away from other more important issues.

In my book, iSucceed, I talk about Stephen Covey’s 4 quadrants of time management of which most of us fall into the trap of dealing with those things that are urgent. So here are some suggestions regarding emails:

  • Categorize emails – important and urgent, important, unimportant and junk.
  • Put unimportant email into respective folders
  • Delete all junk email.
  • Address those emails that are both important and urgent
  • Read important email and determine if and when replies are necessary

This simple technique will save you more time than you might realize.

One other thing I would recommend is simply increase your typing speed – take a course on typing.

Emails that may have taken you 30 minutes to write will be done in a fraction of that.

A two week course is a small investment considering how much time you will save later.

Adrian Shepherd

5 thoughts on “time management tip # 1: the email trap”

  1. Awesome! It’s good that you summarized it all. I have been looking for the best and effective way of dealing with my emails, my eruptive mail to be exact. So unorganized, can’t even recognize which is read and unread.

    1. Thks Tom, it’s surprising just how many people have trouble handling all their email. My generation didn’t grow up with email so I’ve found that quite a few of my colleagues aren’t the fastest typists. Such a useful skill to learn.


  2. Is the book still available? It sounds so interesting. I feel like I’ve been missing a one big opportunity if I didn’t have it.

    1. Hi Arvid, the book hasn’t been released just yet. It should be ready sometime this month – please keep your eyes posted. I’ll be sure to tweet about it and it’ll be added to my “success tools” tab.


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