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Stop wasting time! Four email time management tips

email productivity time management tips

I love email, don’t you?

You hit the send key, wait a few seconds and in that time your email has travelled around the world and reached its destination.

It’s quick, effective and convenient.

The trouble is, email is so easy that it’s eating into our time and productivity.

According to research, the average person spends around one quarter of their work day reading, writing or responding to email.

That’s about two hours PER DAY working on your inbox…

Here are my top four time management tips for being more productive with email.

The three minute rule

Once you’ve read an email, can you action it in less than three minutes? If so, adopt the ‘handle it once’ strategy and go ahead and deal with it.

Either hit delete or unsubscribe (my favourites!), reply, delegate or forward.

If you don’t action these quick emails straight away you’re storing up productivity issues for yourself because you’ll end up having to open and read that email again in the future.


One of the biggest time wasters is having your email client open all day with it chirping at you every time you get a new email.

Choose a schedule such as checking email just two or three times per day and stick to it. The rest of the time focus on what you’re meant to be doing.

When I was particularly busy I set this up as an autoresponder which was inspired by Tim Ferris’s 4 hour work week:

Thank you for your email!

In order to increase my productivity and to serve my clients more efficiently I check email at 11am and 4pm. If your request is urgent please call me on my mobile [mobile number here] for an immediate response.”

And guess what? In all the time I used that auto responder, I never once got an ‘urgent’ call on my mobile asking me to check my inbox 😉

Subject line

Lead by example with great subject lines which will help the recipient.

For example compare “Could you help me?” with “Need help with this proposal by Wednesday lunchtime”

Or “Meeting review” compared to “Need feedback on last Wednesday’s meeting by Friday”

Other ideas include putting the status in the subject line such as {info only} {Action} {NNTR} (No need to respond) {low priority} {Urgent}


Do you get emails asking the same questions over and over? If so, create an FAQs page on your website to direct people to. Either link to it in your email signature or have this something like this at the top of your contact form:

Due to a high volume of emails, we have created an FAQs page. Please read through carefully to see if your query has already been answered.

If your question is not covered please use our extensive search function, available on the right hand side of all pages, to see if the answer is elsewhere on our site.

We regret to inform you that if your question is answered either on the FAQs page or elsewhere on the site, we will not respond to your email.

Which one of these actions are you going to implement today to help you manage your email more efficiently?

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