Updated: Aug 28, 2020
There is plenty of talk about how email is destructive, stressful, a waste of time and all around bad for you. Do we ever think about whether email can be good for you?
Use it for encouragement
We spoke earlier in the week about taking control of the tone of your inbox by taking control of your outgoing emails. One thing we didn't talk about was sending positive emails, positive affirmations. Giving positive feedback or encouraging someone can be as beneficial for the person giving encouragement as it is for the person receiving it, so why not stop and think about someone who you could encourage? It doesn't have to be a big deal, it could simply be a thank you for something. Here is a great article about giving positive feedback at work.
Use it to delegate non urgent work
Email is ideal for non urgent communication, and you could use it more regularly to delegate those items that need to be delegated. This will get them off your to do list, create a record of who you delegated it to and when, and hopefully therefore ease the mental burden of things you need to do.
Use it for flexible hours
Obviously email is great for sending written communication at weird hours, but what about if you need to call someone?
How often do you think about calling someone but it is an inappropriate time to call them? This might be a personal thing, I need to call my friend, or it might be a work thing. You can send someone an email indicating "I need to call you and talk to you about ....". You can even schedule the email to send at an appropriate time if you like. (Click here for instructions to schedule send in Gmail or Outlook).
Now you have dealt with the matter, so hopefully one of you will remember to call the other in the morning, and again hopefully you have taken it off of your mental to do list.
Of all of the methods of written communication that we have in 2020, email still remains the only one that we can schedule. This really helps if you don't work or think to call a friend at what are considered 'normal' hours.
Remember that you control it
The advantage of using email to communicate is that you control it. If you need to do some uninterrupted work you can close your email program. If you don't want to know what is in your work emails at certain times then you can set out of office times so that you don't receive emails to your phone during those times. Other methods of communication like phones (whether it is phone calls or text messages) tend to be harder to ignore, what if you turn your phone on silent but then your friend calls? Still other methods of communication like messaging apps and social media tend to bundle our work and personal lives.
Email remains one of those few places where there are clear lines between our different persona, having six or eight email accounts can in this case be an advantage. Use it to your advantage, use it to set boundaries. Even in your personal life, do you need to receive personal emails at 7am or have you decided to try and start your mornings off with exercise or an uninterrupted coffee? Change the settings on your email accounts to reflect that, so that you don't get any emails from 11pm until say 8am (or whenever it is that you have planned some you time).
Audit your emails, but don't simply unsubscribe to everything
Yes we get inundated with automated emails and so one temptation can be to hit unsubscribe, but actually you probably like some of these. It is, once again, about taking control.
Are you receiving emails from that clothing store you like so that you can window shop and get the occasional discount code? Great, keep receiving those, but set up a folder in your email account titled 'recreational reading' and then set up a filter on your email account to send these emails straight there.
Do you receive emails that are useful, but not always read? For instance, I have a New York Times subscription, I do like to read the emails when I have time (ha ha) but I don't read all of them. If you send them to your recreational reading folder, then when you have some time and need a bit of a break from whatever you are currently working on you can wonder on over to this folder and catch up on some reading.
If you tend to receive a lot of internal emails from work colleagues then you could set up a redirect for all interoffice communications, so that you have one place for your clients and business partners (or anyone external to the company), and one place for your colleagues. Both these categories are important, but also they aren't the sort of things you can deal with altogether at the same time. You can control how and when you focus on different categories Then of course there are those emails that you just never read and you are unsure why you are even getting them. Sure, unsubscribe to those, but the main point of this section is to use your mail filters and your folders to gain further control over the way that you use email. This will look different for everybody, and you might change a few times how you approach this, but the general idea is to take control by using filters that help you.
It is much harder to funnel telephone calls, Facebook messages to your business page (can you answer a question ...) or Linked in messages (I just wanted to reach out to you ....) than it is to control email inboxes. Take control and use it so that it suits you.
Are you sick of email? Are you sick of financial disclosure that is just a bunch of random emails with poorly named attachments?
Financial disclosure in family law matters was never really intended to be done by email, and it can be quite time consuming to properly catalogue all of the information that you receive from clients and the other side by email.
Have a look at our two way disclosure portal, financial disclosure without email. You can sign up for a free 14 day trial and start getting financial documents without emails from your clients or the other side today.