Time Management for Email

Time Management for Email

Time Management skills are a fundamental part of creating a successful Non-Profit Organization foundation. We have all heard that time is money, and how we spend it counts. 

Over the years I have struggled with this skill but learned many ways to better manage my time. I continue to find solutions as the workplace changes. The pandemic has been a good test for our online and social habits for work. As we slowly get back to in-person meetings and events, it is time to refresh our online productivity skills. 


Time Management 

A fact of human nature – and the universe – is that time and the tasks that fill it are fluid. Like pouring water into a vase, any given task will expand to fill the time available.  

When you are cramped for time, you will naturally get something done very quickly. Many successful people work well with last minute deadlines, despite the emotional toil. However, if you have not scheduled a job to follow the current task, it will somehow just take longer to complete! Go figure.  

Today, time management does not just mean managing your meetings, projects or meeting report deadlines. It also includes the time we spend online for our work. 

Beware the Black Holes! You know the ones I mean; emailsocial media, and mindless Google searches…  

For now, let’s talk specifically about email time management. 



Email – It creates a paradox. On one hand, the current workspace requires it to survive – especially for communicating and organizing tasks. On the other hand, it can distract us from the meaningful and productive tasks we are at work to perform. Can we avoid it?!? No, is the simple answer. To combat this, we can develop practical habits that will keep us aware and on track.  


5 Habits for Email time management: 

  1. Close the program down – if you leave it open as you work it will suck you in. Also turn your notifications off for the same reason. 
  2. Set specific time(s) to check your email- Commit to checking your emails no more than 3 times a day. Unless you are working on a time sensitive project most things can wait a few hours. 
  3. Set a time limit – when you first open email set a time limit – say 30 minutes – to go through it.  
  4. Delete, sort and deal – get rid of as much as you can (think Marie Kondo for your inbox). Create folders to sort email into that you need to keep and/or deal with later. If you can deal with it quickly – under a minute – or it is urgent, then take care of it and move on. It takes more time to go back later. 
  5. Use the phone – At certain times it can save you time to just pick up the phone and call someone instead of emailing them and waiting for a response. If you have multiple questions or require a back-and-forth conversation a 5-minute call can save you 10 emails. Phone calls also encourage relationship building. Keep them brief; a good phrase to end them is: “I will let you go now, thanks very much for your time”. 



If there is an attachment you need to keep, save it now, then you can delete or file the email away. The inbox will never be empty, or even close, but remove as much as you can! Then stop stressing about it and move on.  


Managing time online is essential to our productivity in the long run.  

For more information on how I can customize workshops and services to suit your organization’s current situation contact me here.