The average professional spends 28% of the work day reading and answering email, according to a McKinsey analysis.
Most professionals have resorted to one of two extreme coping mechanisms.
Either becoming completely OCD about filing and cleaning up their inboxes. I suspect this is not you or me, or the majority of us, in fact.
The other way is by simply giving up. Thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of emails sit in their inbox forever.
This creates a whole host of problems, including:
- Problems filing and searching emails
- Heightened risk of financial penalties and claims
- Inbox lock-in, meaning not all team members can see project emails in individual inboxes
- Cyber security and GDPR challenges
- Wasted time spent trying to find sensitive documents
On average, people create a new email folder every five days and have 37 on hand.
But this approach — clicking on folders to find what you need - is 9% slower than searching with keywords, or 50% slower when compared with searches using common operators. The average worker has 37 files. Hick's law tells us that a 37-choice decision is 5 times slower than a two-choice decision.
Here are five actionable tips to reduce the time spent on email:
1. Move every email out of your inbox the first time you read it
2. Set up just two email folders and use shortcuts to archive emails there
3. Use automated filtering for newsletters you use
4. Mass unsubscribe from all emails you don't use with unrollme
5. Catalogue all your emails automatically and search with filters using Arup's Mail Manager