Do you feel as if you are overwhelmed with the volume of e-mails in your in box?

If so, here are five things you can do today:

1. Create and adhere to a routine:

Always dedicate a specific time for checking e-mails i.e. first thing in the morning, after lunch or one hour before leaving work so that you create a regular habit which will allow you to focus on other things outside of these times.

2. Always follow the four D’s:

De-subscribe (to irrelevant newsletters and circulars) in order to reduce the volume of e-mails you have to manage.

Delete Spam, duplicates and any e-mails that you have been cc’d into, if it is not directly applicable to you.

Deal with relevant e-mails in order of urgency and importance as this will help you and your organisation to achieve key objectives.

Delegate e-mails in order to allow others to take ownership and allow you to focus on your core business responsibilities thereby fulfilling your key roles, exceeding expectations and improving personal performance.

3. Follow the once only rule:

Always visit each e-mail only once so that you reduce the amount of time spent revisiting and reviewing in order to improve information processing. If it needs answering, answer it, if it needs deleting delete it and if you need it for future reference, file it where you can easily access it.

4. Be aware of what you are writing:

Always assume that your exchange is not completely private so that you ensure that all of your e-mail communications are as professional as your verbal communications.

Never send an e-mail when you are angry, or participate in circulating “round robin” e-mails in a professional environment. Not all of your business contacts will be thrilled to receive a communication from you demanding that they pass it on to everyone they know on within 24 milliseconds in order to reap eternal riches from a zillion different quarters!

5. Use e-mail as a tool to help you:

Always remember that e-mails are a tool to be used to communicate more effectively and efficiently and are not the sole reason for your employment within your organisation.

Ensure that you drive your e-mail management system, rather than it driving you so that you can achieve far more than an empty in-box at the end of your working day!