A Solution For Email Overwhelm

July 30, 2015

I’ve just emailed a client who was pulling his hair out last week with the amount of time spent each day answering emails.  He’d counted 140 emails for the day and at 3 minutes per email that’s 7 hours spent in his inbox.  I get a lot of these emails (see my post on a common cry for help).

We are now dealing with some of those emails for him in order to reduce his time (and this client has lovely systems and automation set up within his business so there wasn’t much room for improvement there) but stuck in peak traffic tonight and thinking about his frustration I had a (rare) lightbulb moment.

This is my email to him,

Hi xxx,

Stuck in traffic going into town tonight and for some reason, couldn’t get your inbox out of my mind.  I thought of something I changed in my own business which may help (and may be a stupid idea … in which case ignore my ramble).

You get a LOT of internal emails.  Most of them are quick replies or fyi type info but it all builds up in your inbox.

I used to have this with my own team.  They would constantly email with queries on projects they were working on and with many projects due same day (and so I didn’t hold up their work while waiting on an answer) I’d constantly be checking my inbox … meaning I’d also reply to all the other emails … constantly.

So I changed method of communication with me from my team from email to skype.  They now message me via skype.  When I’m busy I change the status on skype but it means communication is much quicker by nature of skype messaging – I’m not holding up contractors – and I’m not going into my inbox and getting distracted.

So what might have been 20 emails back and forth is now a 5 min message conversation re skype.

I’m not sure if this would work with you with xxx & xxx but I thought I’d suggest it … just in case.

That’s it … over and out!

Hope things are better this week 🙂

With my own business, we have moved our communications from email to Proworkflow (our project management system) which is fantastic.  I’ve encouraged my team to contact me via skype where a question is urgent or falls outside of the project they are working on.

If skype isn’t your thing, Facebook’s messaging system is great as is Twitter’s direct message.  I like skype because I can change the status when busy (all my other push notifications are turned off so as not to distract), I can search within skype if looking for particular information … and it’s so quick.  AND it’s reducing emails.

So if you’re despairing over the amount of time you’re spending in your inbox – think outside the square, can skype or social media be a solution?  Or a project management system?

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