#004: Tips to make Email easier

Read time: 4 minutes

Today I am going to teach you how to save time with email.

I don’t know anyone who likes email, and most get in a vicious loop of checking email, social media, and other online sources in the downtime between patients.

Here are a few tips that can save you time and reduce your stress when dealing with email.

I will also show you some techniques that I find effective to make email more manageable.

This is important because using email effectively can save you hours daily and help you be less distracted with friends and family.

Unfortunately, most people never consider how they use email and even if they can use it better.

Emails are a time SUCK. Here is how to free yourself.

Today I will go over the following:

  1. Ways to reduce the time you spend on email

  2. Technology that can save you time and become more efficient with your email

  3. Using email to simplify your to-do list

Ways to reduce the time you spend on email

Unsubscribe - When you get an email from a company that does not add value, unsubscribe. Deleting or archiving the email is tempting, but unsubscribing is better. An advanced tip is to set up a filter for any email that has unsubscribe on it and go to your option folder (more later in the article on this folder.)

Turn off notifications - These on your phone or computer can make you want to check more often. This causes addiction. Please take five minutes to turn the notifications off and get peace of mind.

Block time - Set aside a time you check your email each day. Limit to 10-15 minutes as work fills the time available. The best time is lunch hour. Don’t look randomly between patients when you have a few minutes, as that can become an addiction.

Check email when you can take action - If you have many unfinished emails or emails you can’t respond to or complete, this causes tension. This is called the “open drawer syndrome.” Only check your email when you can take action on the emails.

Set up an “Optional” email folder - If you have to look at many emails, but they are not urgent, auto-filter them to an optional folder. They won’t clog up your inbox; you can look at that optional folder once a week.

Technology that can save you time and become more efficient with your email

Follow-Up Then - This is my favorite email add-on that allows you to forward an email to a time when you will take action on the email. This may be two weeks or one month in the future. Another aspect of Follow-Up Then is including this in emails if you want a reply from someone else. If the reply does not come in a determined time, you will get the email back in your inbox.

Send Later - What if you want to send an email to check up on someone or a project? With a send later function, you can write the email today and have it sent at a future date.

Calendly - I hate going back and forth to schedule meetings. With Calendly, I can set up times each week (Wednesday and Thursday from 12:30-1:00 PM) when I meet with people via Zoom. I can send my scheduling link, saving me time from going back and forth with people who want to meet with me.

Using email to simplify your to-do list

I am a big believer of simplifying communication. Today there are many tools for communication, including Todo lists, WhatsApp, email, text message, messenger, and even our EMR communication tools.

Having one place where I keep all these communications makes everything easier. I use email as my base. Everything I need to do, remember, and follow up on goes into my email. Sometimes this involves copying a message from text or WhatsApp to an email to myself.

There is one last App I want to share that saves me time and frustration in remembering tasks, and I am busy. This app is called BrainToss. With this app, you can record short audio from your phone, and the audio and transcription are sent to your email. When you check your email once a day, all the reminders are there, and nothing is forgotten.

Final thoughts

The goal of email efficiency is called inbox zero. This is where your email can go to zero every day or as often as you check your email. When you control how often and how long you spend in your email, you control your time. When you look at email first thing in the morning, you let others dictate your day.

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