April 12, 2014 Kevin Field

Five tips to get rid of e-mail clutter: as the French make it illegal to attend to work emails after 6pm.

Are You Ready To Remove E-Mail Clutter And Get Your Time Back?

I adore the French lifestyle especially that of Southern France, now is another reason: they no longer need to worry about work calls, texts, and emails after normal office hours.

But we can get away without the need for law and cut through the emails?

April 2014 and the French tech and consultancy sector signed up to a legally binding agreement.  This included the likes of Google, Facebook, Deloitte and PwC. It only affects around 1million of their total workforce of 40 million, but it’s a step in the right direction.

It seems to me that Work-life balance has always been something people on the continent get about right, more than can be said for us here in the UK.

The Centre for Creative Leadership suggests that we communicate with our office for around 72 hours a week and much of that via our smartphones, dependant on your job I would suggest, but e-mails can drag you down.

I try to cut e-mail clutter every month or so and have five steps to share that may help you achieve the same, without resulting to banning out of hours emails.

 

1. Schedule regular email de-clutter sessions

Although I have rules for normal e-mail usage, they still tend to clutter.  I take a morning; afternoon or a day once a month, or quarter and I methodically sift through my e-mails.

While I’m busy clearing I have every other distraction switched off, no phone, no Facebook, twitter – nothing else.  I even turn the radio off, which is rare for me.

 

2. To do list and rules

  • I set up an action list of where everything is going to go.
  • I set up my own rules of what I’m going to do with the e-mails.
  • I only open each email once
  • I spend two minutes to make the decision and or reply.
  • My replies are short paragraphs, if it warrants more I add it to my to do list and pop the e-mail in my actions folder.
  • I bin it if it has no meaning.
  • I never skip to the next one.
  • If there is an attachment I save that in a folder and delete the email.

3. Dive in at the top.

It’s easier to start at the most recent; you’ll get through these e-mails quicker.

 

4. Opt out.

Get rid of those pointless newsletters and mail outs. They take up space and you spend time checking them out or deleting them in the future.  I’ve started to set up specific e-mail addresses for newsletters; I can then look at them when I want to.  I also sign up to an RSS Feeds, so I try to avoid getting lots of junk e-mails.

 

5. Take a break.

It can be frustrating staring at a screen for far too long, take a tea break every 30 minutes.  Also, don’t get up to make endless cups of tea, schedule the breaks as a reward.

 

So when are you going to schedule your email clutter cutter day?

As for our French cousins and the out of hours work texts, calls and e-mails I have a simple remedy – switch off.

 

 

About Kevin Field

Kevin Field has written 39 post in this blog.

Kevin Field is an award winning Radio Producer and an award winning Project Manager. A Skilled Event Host, Radio Presenter and Author. Accomplished 'media' entrepreneur with a passion for social gain, podcasting, new media, radio production with a multifaceted background in radio, events and marketing.

About the Author

Kevin Field Kevin Field is an award winning Radio Producer and an award winning Project Manager. A Skilled Event Host, Radio Presenter and Author. Accomplished 'media' entrepreneur with a passion for social gain, podcasting, new media, radio production with a multifaceted background in radio, events and marketing.

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