The average office worker spends 28 percent of the workweek managing email. One reason for this insane time suck: Lots of people are using email incorrectly.
That's according to Dmitri Leonov, VP of growth at SaneBox, a five-year-old email filtering service that helps users get to "inbox zero," meaning it stashes away all the nonsense clogging your inbox, making it easier to focus on only the messages that actually need your attention.
Here's what he says lots of people are doing wrong when it comes to email.
1. Not Using Filters
SaneBox, Gmail Priority Inbox and ZeroMail are just a few of the many tools available that figure out which messages are important and which ones aren't. Essentially, they move things like newsletters, notifications from social media, and marketing messages out of your inbox into separate folders you can peruse at your leisure. – Inc Magazine
2. Looking at the Same Emails Time After Time
Not every message is actionable right now. If you can't process a message for two weeks, get it out of your field of vision until you can. SaneBox has a snooze function that will remove a message from your inbox until a later time. – Inc Magazine
3. Unnecessary Emailing
Can you use another communication medium, such as a company collaboration tool? Will a phone call suffice? What about an in-person conversation? "The practice we adopted at SaneBox is if you need an answer right away, use chat," he says. "If it's an open-ended question or could turn into a lot of back and forth, it's better to just pick up the phone and talk it out." – Inc Magazine
4. Including Images In Your Signatures
Graphics behave as attachments and suck up bandwidth unnecessarily. Even seemingly innocuous company logos are bad form. "There's just no need for [it]," he says. – Inc Magazine
5. Using the Inbox as an Archive
Leaving every single message in your inbox is terrible for your focus and productivity. Ideally, your inbox is clean and every message--once dealt with--is filed into a folder, deleted or archived. In fact, Leonov says you should treat your email inbox the same as you do your physical snail mail box. "Leaving messages in your email inbox is the equivalent of taking envelopes out, reading them and then stuffing them back into your [physical] mailbox. It just doesn't work," he says. "The inbox is really meant for stuff that you have not processed." And don't worry--anything you archive or file will still be findable if you search for it later." –Inc Magazine