Time Management Secrets...3 Tools You Can Use TodayJul 31, 2019
Take a moment to pull out your phone and glance at your email notifications. How many unread messages do you currently have in your inbox? 15? 50? Over 100?
Tim Braheem recently noticed that some people can have over 1,000 unread emails in their inbox at any given time, and he mentions that he can’t even begin to comprehend what that must feel like. He goes on to explain that he strives to keep the number of unread messages in his inbox below 5 at all times. If you’re wondering how it’s possible to be this efficient when it comes to responding to emails, here are the top 3 time management tips that Tim personally recommends.
1. Consider Using an Email Management Tool
Oftentimes, inboxes can seem crowded and overwhelming if you don’t organize different types of messages into specific folders. For instance, loan officers may receive time-sensitive messages that should be responded to as soon as possible, but they might also get spam emails that can simply be deleted right away. Tim suggests using an email management tool, such as SaneBox, to clean out and organize your inbox to maximize your efficiency.
Tim says that SaneBox radically improved his own inbox, and their plans start at just $7 per month. You’ll be grateful for its numerous time-saving features, such as:
- Automatically sorting and decluttering your inbox.
- A “Do Not Disturb” feature that allows you to thoroughly enjoy your time off of work.
- A 1-click unsubscription option for any unwanted emails.
- Snoozing non-urgent messages for later.
- Tracking and notifying people who haven’t replied to you.
- Free access to the Inbox Zero Academy.
2. Only Touch Tasks Once
If you’re like most people, you’ve probably clicked on an email, scanned over it, and then decided that you weren’t in the right mindset to read or respond to it. This changes the message to “grey” in your inbox after you exit the message, but you’ll eventually have to go back, re-read it, and then compose your reply. Tim points out that this is basically doubling your workload since you’ll be reading the same message twice and re-orienting yourself to the person’s needs. He explains this concept further by using an analogy of a moving company.
Professional movers will only touch items twice during the entire moving process: once when they carry the item from the old house into the truck, and again when they move the object from the truck into the new house. Movers won’t leave an item where it doesn’t belong, go complete a different task, and come back to the item later. For instance, if they’re moving a couch into a home, they’re not going to set it down on the driveway, bring in something else, and come back for the couch at some other time. Instead, they maximize their efficiency by focusing on one object at a time; they’ll pick up the couch, carry it inside, and set it down exactly where the owner specifies in order to fully complete the process.
Like the movers, loan officers should aim to touch items in their inbox only once rather than wasting time by reviewing messages they’ve already read. They should carve out designated times to read longer emails, respond to complex questions, and complete more demanding tasks throughout their day.
3. Respond to Others with Your Preferred Format
The final tip that Tim mentions has to do with other types of communication besides email. He points out that people tend to correspond with each other by copying each other’s preferred communication methods. For example, if your client sends you a multi-paragraph email, you’ll likely respond to their questions in an email. If a client prefers to talk over the phone, you’ll probably call them if you need information from them. However, since people tend to adapt to other people’s communication preferences, you can break this cycle by simply responding to your clients using your preferred method.
Next time you receive a long, overwhelming email full of questions or concerns, think of the best ways you could respond to the client. Instead of spending 20 minutes typing out a response, you might want to send a brief voice memo or simply call the person directly. Doing this will reduce the chance of receiving another lengthy email, and it will encourage your client to use your preferred communication format next time they need to get ahold of you. In addition, it will save you time and effort while making sure that the person gets the information they need promptly.
Looking for More Personal Development Tips?
If you’d like to learn more time-saving strategies that will help you earn more money, become a better leader, and boost your efficiency, check out our other blogs on Time Management!