Tips to reduce time spent on Emails

 I believe emails are a big time waster. That said – I do get a lot of emails (and send a lot too!).  And I like getting emails (it makes me feel popular and like somebody cares). If you would like to send me an email (I’ll read it!) send it to

(p.s. if you wanted to know what CC and BCC stand for see the bottom of the article)

EMAIL TIP 1: Turn off notify  At work – turn off the automatic notify. You’ll get more work done because you won’t always be going – “what was that?” better click it! After you are distracted it will take you a few minutes (at least) to get back into work mode.

EMAIL TIP 2: Check your email 3 times a day  Although I find it hard following this one - experts recommend checking email only a few times a day to get more done – like at 11am, 2pm and 430pm.

EMAIL TIP 3:  A Call is quicker than an email  If you have more than 2 questions to ask - a phone call is usually quicker than an email. Depending what you are calling about – people may prefer a short phone call – rather than receiving a 2 page email that you have sent them with 10 questions (and 5 of the 10 questions were not needed because of your answers).

EMAIL TIP 4 : Use Rules to automatically sort emails into folders Very broadly I would categorise emails received into 3 categories:

Types of Email Received

1. For you to respond/action (from your boss/mate/client asking a question or asking you to do something).

2. To your group (info from your uni/work/email providor about new stuff)

3. For your interest (Newsletters, when people CC you in emails, etc.).

I use Outlook to categorise a lot of emails I receive into separate folders. To do this I use Tools -Rules and Alerts in Outlook to automatically move Newsletters to separate folders.

You can set up a rule either by right clicking the email and “Create a Rule” or copy pasting the email address into a rule that you have created at Tools- Rules and Alerts.

If you don’t have rules then perhaps you can sort you email by FROM and then sort into folders manually. (or even if you have been away – reading emails by From can help you sort quicker as FROM helps you sort newsletters and unimportant emails).

Category 1 – For you to respond/action   These are the most important emails. I leave these emails in my inbox then file in a separate email folder when it has been dealt with.  (if the email has been put in a separate folder due to rules below I bring it back to my inbox until I have dealt with the issue).

Category 2 – To your Group  I set up rules for emails to groups that I am a part of to go into certain folders (For example emails addressed to: All Staff, Uni Students, All Position X, - I put to a folder called Staff Emails)

Also one of the partners at the firm mentioned that he sets up a separate folder for emails where he is CC:d. He has assumed (mostly correctly) that the CC field is used where it if For Your Information and his action is usually not required.

Emails from certain people

While it is dangerous to put people in a box – sometimes you know emails FROM a certain person are going to be ABOUT a certain topic.

For example - everything my band mates send goes into a separate folder called Band. Everything sent to the Soccer committee (or from the Soccer president) goes into Soccer.

Category 3 – Newsletters and CCs  Newsletters are sometimes (not always) sent from the one email address. So it makes it easy for everything from who sends Aquabumps – where the waves live  (great pictures and surf report) to go to Surfing folder. – Uni Everything coming from an address ending in goes into Uni folder.  

Other newsletters I set up in various categories.  There are newsletters for every topic you can think of on the internet. Pretty soon (maybe next week) I will go through all the newsletters I receive and provide a list by category of the best ones.

By using the above tips  each day I can just click Unread mail in outlook and mark as read/click through many emails without having to click and drag to separate folders.

Well they are the main Tips – Happy Emailing!!! Send an email to or write a comment to let me know if it has helped you!


CC and BCC

CC stands for Carbon Copy and BCC for Blind Carbon Copy. That is because when you sent letters you would do a carbon copy behind the typewriter (triplicate copy) to go to somebody and write CC: Mr John Smith on the bottom. If you were a BCC you got a copy to but they didn’t put your name on the letter.  – So now the emails work pretty similar to the old letter/typewriter system

Posted in Goals & Personal Development
  • Steve

    Hey mate,
    Just a comment on the email versus phone call comment. Emails are stored in writing so if there is confusion later down the line you can always refer to the email.

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