Avoiding wasting time on emails and memos

We all know people whose desks are full of mountains of paper, unread reports and unopened mail. Others can work with a clear desk, with ordered ‘In’ and ‘Out’ trays, and seem to be efficient and productive.


Although email may be less visible, the same challenges apply – often more so.


So here are a few more tips:

  • If you are regularly getting irrelevant mail (easy with email), communicate this to the relevant person – time invested in a cure now can pay big dividends later. Use anti-spam software to reduce your junk mail.
  • Avoid perfectionism – if a hand-written message on a memo is adequate, do it; if a one or two word email response is enough, do it
  • Make the technology work for you – how can email, mobile phones, answerphones help you to avoid meetings and paperwork?
  • Delegate where possible. If you have staff, involve them in filtering communications so that only the most relevant reach you.
  • How many unopened emails are sitting in your Inbox?
  • If the number is small, what could you have been doing instead?
  • How do you prioritise your responses to emails?