Speedmailing is all about reducing the time and effort we invest in processing email whilst preserving or improving our overview of tasks at hand and dealing with them in a focused manner.
Why should we care about this? If you work is sales, email has grown into one of the most important tools in your job and it is tempting to waste too much energy on email. This is not really is not much of a problem if you only receive a couple of emails a day and the problem might go away tomorrow. Unfortunately this is not the case for most of us.
The skill sets that are taught in Speedmailing are probably even more important if you do not spend your whole day behind a desk and can only spend part of your time dealing with email. Having a lightweight system, that is manageable on both laptops and mobile devices, which can be updated whilst waiting for a customer meeting in 10 minutes and can save you from spending the evening catching up on work, is a fantastic tool.
So what are the ground rules of Speedmailing?
- Set up your mailbox in a very simple, action-oriented structure. No more folders per customer or project - just 4 folders to separate different tasks. The folders are: 'Do This Week', 'Holding For Later', 'Waiting For Others' and 'Filed Items'. Rely on searching if you need information from emails (crucial data often is also reachable in systems like your CRM).
- Consider your inbox the starting point of all tasks so if you need to do it, get it to your inbox (and yes there is an app for that, Braintoss will allow you to dictate a quick email to yourself or snap that business card straight into your inbox).
- Only go to your inbox to crunch it. Decide if each email needs further attention. If so, put it in the according action folder. If not, file or delete it. (Yes this can be done easily on a mobile device if the system is lean and mean).
- Teaching your brain a fixed structure of decision making on a per email basis, including keyboard shortcuts and very quickly sorting them into action folders. Get used to this and you will be saving energy on a daily basis.
- Dealing with short tasks immediately, if they can be done in 1-2 minutes, do them immediately.
- Not working from your inbox - it is the place where all new email arrives and distracts you from your real work. Make sure to eliminate all incoming mail notifications on all devices.
- Check your tasks system once or twice a week to see which tasks are slipping out of control and which should be parked or removed.
I typically leave the house with an empty inbox, crunched in 5-10 minutes over a cup of tea on my iPhone. When back from the customer visit in the afternoon I will crunch my inbox again, again 5-10 minutes on my laptop. Then I move away from my inbox and focus on the important tasks in my 'Do This Week' folder, deciding which ones I need to do today and giving them my undivided attention. And then, if I can’t help myself, I might crunch my inbox again in the late afternoon.
People who have started Speedmailing have reported back that managing their email has become a lot easier. Not just saving them time, but also giving them peace of mind.