Email is many things, but a time saver it is not.
A 2012 McKinsey study found that the average office worker spends 28% of their time reading and responding to email. If you work 260 days per year, AOL Jobs notes, that's the equivalent of spending 73 days doing nothing but staring at your inbox.
Suddenly those threads on where to go for lunch seem a lot less important.
In many professions, however, ignoring email entirely during the workday is simply not feasible, so it becomes necessary to adopt a strategy (or several) for keeping an eye on your inbox without letting it take over your whole day. In an interview with Harvard Business Review, Robert Pozen, the former chairman of MFS Investment Management and author of "Extreme Productivity," shares his best advice on how to get through email faster at work:
1. Close your inbox tab. "Don’t look at it every minute; look at it every hour or two," he says.
2. Only open 50% of your emails. "Try to discipline yourself to read only the subject matter in order to discard 50% to 80% of your emails right away," he says. "We all get so much spam."
3. Practice “OHIO” — Only Handle It Once. When you first open an email, immediately decide what to do with it, says Pozen. "Concentrate on the emails that are important and answer them right away. And don’t put them into some sort of storage system, because by the time you’re ready to finally tackle them, you’ll spend another half an hour trying to find them."
For more tips on how to increase your work productivity, read Pozen's full interview here.
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