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Email Management for Overstretched Technical Communicators


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Email is often the best way to communicate across different countries and time zones, but what happens when the time spent dealing with email overshadows the rest of your workload?

Published in: Technology
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Email Management for Overstretched Technical Communicators

  1. 1. Email Management for Overstretched Technical Communicators
  2. 2. THE AIM: Don’t let your email dictate your priorities.
  3. 3. So how much time do we really spend on emails?
  4. 4. Surveys show that office workers in Europe spend over a third of their working day reading, writing, and responding to emails.
  5. 5. Email remains one of the most important communication channels for technical communicators, so it’s never a “waste” of time.
  6. 6. But ensuring that it doesn’t consume your entire working day is a key part of project management.
  7. 7. THE PHILOSOPHY: Managing your email is a state of mind.
  8. 8. That sounds great but…. what does it actually mean?
  9. 9. Don’t react to email. Process email. It means….
  10. 10. Make email processing a daily task. Allow only the time allotted for email processing. Don’t react to email. Process email. Avoid checking email constantly. Schedule email processing in one or more parts.
  11. 11. But REMEMBER… Be flexible with this email approach. Inform others if you’re adopting this email approach. If you have more than one work email account, give each account sufficient time.
  12. 12. THE METHOD: Guidelines for effective email processing
  13. 13. Turn off email notifications. Email is not intended for urgent communication, and notifications can distract you from writing tasks, meetings, or conversations. 1.
  14. 14. Think carefully when forwarding email and putting people on copy, and indicate whether a response is required. If you send less email, you’ll receive less email. 2.
  15. 15. Keep emails short and to the point where possible.3.
  16. 16. Scan your inbox for priority emails requiring immediate action.4.
  17. 17. Mark less urgent emails as unread so you can return to them later. (You don’t have to deal with everything immediately.) 5.
  18. 18. Schedule time in your calendar to reply to emails that require more information gathering or time to compose a detailed response. 6.
  19. 19. Ask yourself a few key questions when you open a new email.7. Do I need to respond to this? Is this an action for me? Can I deal with this in a few minutes? Do I have the time and information to deal with this now?
  20. 20. Use available tools for help.8. Save time by using email templates and tools such as Microsoft Office Quick Parts. Categorise emails to help organise your inbox by projects and priorities. Create rules to organise project-specific emails in folders.
  21. 21. Key benefitsTHE RESULT:
  22. 22. Improved efficiency through dealing with multiple emails together
  23. 23. Dedicated blocks of time for writing or other key tasks
  24. 24. Prioritisation of tasks and increased focus on task at hand
  25. 25. Less likely to get pulled into other tasks or feel overwhelmed by workload
  26. 26. A slightly less overstretched technical communicator!
  27. 27. Some Further Reading Adobe Consumer Email Survey Report, August 2018. survey (accessed March 2019) “New Study: The Average Worker Spends 30 Hours a Week Checking Email”. worker-spends-30-hours-a-week-checking-email.html (accessed March 2019) “Adobe Email Survey 2016: Europeans Are Still Addicted to Email, but Are Easily Disengaged with Email Campaigns”. marketing/adobe-email-survey-2016/ (accessed February 2019)