I recently heard some great tips listening to a morning radio show on my way into work. It was about managing email and spring cleaning for your inbox.
One tip in particular stuck in my mind for email management: OHIO. It’s a cute abbreviation that stands for Only Handle It Once. The basic idea is that you get an email and deal with it right then and there. What’s the point in reading an email and then saving it for later when you will only have to reread it in order to refresh your memory? If you have time to open the email, you have time for a quick reply or appropriate filing. Do it right then and there.
This was particularly good advice for me, as I tend to check my inbox several times a day. It’s a tough habit to break, but I am trying to cut back on the constant email monitoring in favor of effective email managing. This means I designate certain intervals of time I will dedicate to checking and responding to email so I can OHIO! When I respond to an email or read a newsletter, I can then either file it or delete it right away. On the other hand, if I see the subject line and know I won’t have the time to dedicate to handling it, I wait until later to open it so I can OHIO. The result has meant a much tidier inbox for me and much more time allotted to my tasks at hand.
OHIO email management is a simple concept, but takes discipline to make it work. Give it a try, and see if it doesn’t make a difference in your work schedule.