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What Are You Doing About Productivity-Killing Email Overload?

Profile photo of Sunday William Submitted by Sunday William February 2, 2016

email-overload

Email is an important part of online marketing. We communicate and receive vital business and personal messages through this technology. However, receiving and sending numerous messages a day could be overwhelming for the average business person, and this usually kills productivity.

 Radicati Group , in a 2014 report, revealed that a shocking 121 emails is received daily by the average business user. This figure is expected to increase to 131 and 140 in 2016 and 2018 respectively. This obviously tells you that more task lies ahead to curb email overload.

Frequent email could be distractive, disruptive and overwhelming especially if we have to respond to multiple mails that arrives the inbox. . Earnestly, dealing with this productivity-killing email overload has become crucial!

Since email has become an important communication feature of modern business, it is necessary, also, to develop system of curbing the risk posed by overwhelming emails in the inbox.

Here comes — email batching! Yes, email batching is one solution you can apply to control overwhelming mails to increase productivity. It is simply a process whereby you mark out time (one or two hours in day) to check and respond to emails.

Tim Ferris of Four Hour Work Week has used email batching to increase productivity and we can learn from steps he applies.

Step 1: monitor your mails for at least two days to get a clear picture of the busiest time in the inbox. Effectively, this can be done if you take record of the number of mails that reach at the inbox every one or two hours.

Step 2: identify the most active peak hours of mails in the inbox. Step 1 above determines the baseline number of emails you receive on hourly bases, while this step 2 gives you the idea of the specific active peak hours. You can determine if the greatest number of mails arrive between 4 and 5 PM. Or, you can check if your inbox suddenly top out at a particular hour? You get the idea!

Step 3: create a schedule around the peak hours you have identified in step 2. This is when you do the actual ‘batching’. You should rearrange your calendar to check and respond to emails at only those peak hours. There is need for total committed if is to work. Furthermore, you should setup an auto responder to alert those reaching out of your new mail check schedule. This will help you avoid missing out on important mails.  The automated messages can alert and encourage senders to call you on phone in case there is an emergency or need for immediate reply.

Finally, these are three steps you can apply to do email batching effectively. You should stay disciplined and stick with the schedule you have created if this is to work for you.  This system has worked for Tim Ferris, and it can still work for you as well because it’s very practical!

So, I ask again: What are you doing about productivity-killing email overload?


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Profile photo of Sunday William
I started with a College Degree in Business but I have been an Internet marketer and writer for 10+ years and have written 5,000+ high quality articles in diverse topics. I have also written 20,000+ comments on Kingged.com and 1,000+ blogs and/or websites. I have been working closely with Kingsley, the admin of Kingged.com for 10+ years and have been in the Kingged.com's administrative team since the first day in 2012. I highly recommend Kingged.com's Coaching and Partnership Program.

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38 Responses to “ What Are You Doing About Productivity-Killing Email Overload?” Leave a reply ›

  • Profile photo of Kevin Ross Profile

    Good discussion here, Sunday. Emails, love ’em, hate ’em, they are still as important today as years ago. Even with social media, it’s hard to see anyone today who doesn’t have an email address, particularly if they are connected to the Internet. But as you brought up here, they can be big productivity killers. The stats by Radicati Group is very revealing. I never heard of email batching but it looks like a very good idea. As for me, I still don’t have any particular pattern to reading emails. I read them when I want to, but obviously that’s not a good way to get the best of my day, right? Time for email batching, I think.

  • Profile photo of Sunday William Profile

    Hi kevin,
    Tim Ferris’ email batching strategy really struck me as well. I never heard of it until I read the post. Nevertheless, it is good to have a reading plan for email – especially for anyone that receives tens to hundreds of emails in one hour. Poor planning for emails will definitely kill productivity. This we cannot deny!
    Sunday William recently posted…4 Reasons why Kingged.com is a Boon for BloggersMy Profile

  • Profile photo of Judith Chang Profile

    Hi Sunday,

    I do this to handle productivity killing email overload:

    I simply assign a specific time of the day to read emails, and it will be only those times when I don’t have more important things to do.

    When I have more important things to do, I try very hard not to read emails.

    But for the email address which I give to my clients, I check that often because emails there are only business, nothing to distract.

  • Profile photo of Maketta Profile

    Hello Sunday,

    I have never heard of email batching. I usually just open and read my emails anytime of the day. I have more than one email account to. That sounds like a great way to be productive with your email though.

    I learn something new everyday. Thanks for sharing this with us!
    Maketta recently posted…Target Your Market At IBOToolBoxMy Profile

  • Profile photo of Celine Profile

    Hi Sunday,
    Its cool to know about email batching! I think it is an option worth considering especially for those of us who has to deal with multiple emails in an hour.

    Although the idea shared by Tim Ferris is practical, it is not binding on every blogger because strategy of effectiveness differs with every blogger!

  • Profile photo of Sarah John Profile

    Hey Sunday,
    A good question on how to become productive despite overwhelming inbox. The Tim Ferris approach to solve this problem can be emulated for the confused blogger. However, experts can still draw insights from it! Thanks for sharing this!
    Sarah John recently posted…Kingged.com SUPER Promotion Helps You Reach MILLIONS on 100+ Blogs & 1,000+ Big SitesMy Profile

  • Profile photo of Kristi Hines Profile

    My inbox is typically a disaster, so I may not have much room to talk. But when I do get control of it, it’s because I do the following.

    1. Just say no to anything I don’t want to do first. Yes, it’s cold, but ultimately, you can’t always do everything for everyone and if you are in business, you have to prioritize some over others.

    2. Use Gmail Labs Canned Responses to create templates. Especially helpful for anything requiring a no response and other emails that I find myself writing the same response to over and over again. Saves a ton of time.

    3. Use Boomerang for Gmail. Sometimes, you know you have some time before you have to answer something. Boomerang those things to come back then.

    4. Use Gmail filters and filter out anything that does not actually require a response (i.e., automated emails, newsletters, notifications, etc.). The less that’s in your inbox, the easier it is to tackle.

    5. Only check email once or twice a day. It’s easier to take care of emails if you just set aside time to take care of emails than just going in and out of your inbox all day long.
    Kristi Hines recently posted…The Ultimate Guide to 160+ Business and Digital Marketing Conferences in 2016My Profile

    • Profile photo of Sunday William Profile

      Hi Kristi,
      Its admirable reading how you handle email overload. I guess these steps are working and increasing productivity for you?

      Its revealing what you said about using Gmail Labs Canned Responses and Boomerang. It would be exciting to try out these tools in my campaign. Thanks mentioning them.

      Although what works for one person may not work for another, at the end, it is important to have the discipline needed to control email and productivity!
      Sunday William recently posted…Timing is Everything! How Does It Affect Your Email Open Rate?My Profile

    • Profile photo of Abigail Chow Profile

      Hello Kristi,

      I like these 5 techniques you use to handle your emails. I didn’t know about Gmail Labs Canned Responses before reading your comment. Thank you for sharing!

  • Profile photo of Gordie Chase Profile

    Tim has a good system, thanks for sharing.

    I personally receive about 200 emails a day and if you miss a day, OMG. So I implemented the strategy of reviewing my emails once a week for two hours to see who deserves to be on the spam list.

    A lot of people forget to clean subscription list and wind up with 300 junk emails a day. I made it a policy to check every week to see who and what was still deserving of my attention and regulating all others to the land of unsubcribe.

    Face it, being in everyone’s funnel tends to gain you a lot of duplicate offers and soon everything begins to look like spam.

    So washing your subscription list every week helps to eliminate the over cumbersome task of weeding through 30 emails with the same content from 30 different marketers.
    Gordie Chase recently posted…How to Boost Your Page Ranking With A Small Piece Of Code?My Profile

  • Profile photo of Liudas Profile

    For me email isn’t a big problem. It sure can be a problem, if you are working on something and you have a gmail tab open and you see the email counter growing ever so often.

    An easy hack that I use to check my email is the “Mark as unread” button. Before using it I was kinda afraid of opening emails, because there’s that fear of missing out that you will open an important email though you won’t have the time at the moment to read it and you might forget about it.

    So, right now I just skim through my email, read what I think I need to read and if I open an email I want to leave for later I just mark it unread and I get back to it in one of my sessions where I try to reach inbox zero.

    Another hack is to check your email periodically and not have it open at all times. The general recommendation is twice a day, but I think a good start is just closing it down when you don’t need it and try to limit yourself from opening it every five minutes.

    As I said email isn’t a big problem for me, Facebook is, it’s so much easier to open it and lose like 20 minutes just scrolling through the same posts you just saw an hour ago, but that’s a whole different story.

    P.S. It’s also a good idea to keep your inbox clean of unwanted emails by periodically unfollowing newsletters that don’t interest you. There’s a service that can help you with that called unroll.me
    Liudas recently posted…7 Ways to Blow Up Your Bottom Line with Mobile MarketingMy Profile

    • Profile photo of Sunday William Profile

      Hi Liudas,
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on how to deal with overloaded email. Its good to know you don’t have much problem when it comes to email overload.
      However, there are takeaways from your hack methods:

      – use the unread button
      – check mails periodically,
      – use the unroll.me tool to unfollow irrelevant newsletters.

      Indeed, these approaches are simple and can go a long way to prevent productivity killing email overload!
      Sunday William recently posted…What Are You Doing About Productivity-Killing Email Overload?My Profile

  • Profile photo of Amit Sharan Profile

    Hello Sunday,

    I get a lot of emails too and think this technique you explained here can help.

    It’s logical to mark out one or two hours a day to check and respond to emails, but what if you miss out on important emails which need immediate response?

    Isn’t the whole point of emails the that it can get to the recipient immediately and they can respond quickly?

  • Profile photo of James Ling Profile

    Hi Sunday,

    Email batching is a very practical process. It could be very helpful to increase productivity is applied effectively.

    Tim Ferris’s approach is very quite revealing and practical. I am going to implement it.

    Thanks for sharing these details!

  • Profile photo of Carl Profile

    I have always been at fix on how to truly get rid of overwhelming email. Its cool to know about email batching and I would love put it into practice! Thanks for sharing!

  • Profile photo of steven Profile

    What I do about my overloaded inbox is set out time to deal with each mail. However, this doesn’t happen every time.

    I mark as urgent or favorite some serious mails so I don’t miss them when I am not ready to deal with other mails.

    However, email batching, as suggested and applied by Tom Ferris is an interesting practical strategy for improved productivity! Thanks for sharing this post!

    • Profile photo of Sunday William Profile

      Hey Steven,

      Thanks for sharing your experience with us. It is noted that different persons have different ways of sorting out overloaded inbox. Each person would apply what works for them at a stating time. Thus, at the end, what really matters is the result!

  • Profile photo of Black Profile

    Hi Sunday,

    It is always important to check on emails on time. If there is delay, it could affect the responses to mails that needed urgent attention.

    Well, its good to suggest email batching. The concept is understandable and practical.

    However, the best approach to dealing with overloaded mail box still remains with what is best with the email marketer!

    • Profile photo of Sunday William Profile

      Yes Black, finding a way to deal with urgent mails is very crucial. Email batching would not really make sense if it cannot help provide quick responsiveness to mails! Thanks for always leaving your unique thoughts on comments! 😉

  • Profile photo of John A Karnish Profile

    Hi Sunday,

    Very interesting article. I have to admit, I am new to marketing and don’t seem to have to many important emails at the moment. One thing I do have to be careful of is promotional emails.

    I had tried internet marketing in the past and often got distracted by so many marketers selling the latest “shiny object.” I really got to go through my email and unsubscribe. I think it is more important to find someone you can trust, like Kingsley, and just follow the advice of one mentor than to be on too many promotional lists.

    I am hoping that I will have important emails to respond to in the soon future and Email Batching sounds like the way to go. I like the idea of the autoresponder. Then you can let people know that you respond to emails at a certain time and if they have a critical issue that needs your attention they can call you.

    Some excellent advice my friend. Look forward to getting to know you here on Kingged.

    Take care,

    John

    • Profile photo of Sunday William Profile

      Hi John,

      I agree with you, there is need ” to find someone you can trust, like Kingsley, and just follow the advice of one mentor than to be on too many promotional lists.”
      Doing this will guarantee responds to steady trusted mails. However, email batching must be considered to monitor and respond to mails – even from those who receive regular mails from mentors.

      Thanks for leaving your invaluable comment on this topic, and I also look forward to knowing your better!

  • Profile photo of Norma Profile

    Hi Sunday,

    Spam is a big problem that’s only getting bigger as you rightly mentioned. I have had to abandon an email in the past because I couldn’t keep up with the spam.

    Thanks for the tip about email batching. I have used it many times but didn’t know it was called email batching.

    • Profile photo of Sunday William Profile

      Hi Norma,

      Indeed, spam is a problem which is getting bigger and becoming more challenging for the email marketer. However, with a tactics like email batching it becomes easier to deal with ‘spam’ mails.
      Thanks for joining this conversation!

  • Profile photo of Joseph Profile

    Hi Sunday,

    My best technique is to never subscribe to promotional stuffs online using my main email addresses. I have other email addresses for those and don’t bother when they get spammed to death. This helps to keep my main email addresses save from spam :)

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