Handling the Stress of Replying to Emails Efficiently & Timely

When your email builds up to something that seems beyond a human being’s capability to handle effectively, your blood pressure probably jumps up as well. Email has made communicating in the modern world fairly simple and straightforward, but the ease of use is also what causes so much stress; everyone and anyone is emailing you constantly.

Take a single day off of work and you come back to a bombardment of emails; a completely flooded inbox! How can you handle the stress of replying to emails efficiently and timely? Is there enough time in the day? Do you need to work overtime? Which emails are urgent and which can wait until you solve other problems? Questions just keep popping up and before you know it, you’re too stressed to really deal with any aspect of work at all.

Executing good practices in maintaining your email will get down on email stress, which means you will be able to remain calm and stay focused to get through your work day. Just ask yourself the following questions to reduce email stress.

1) Should you be emailing a response or picking up the phone?

Email chains can run on indefinitely unless an action is resolved or someone takes the initiative to take the conversation offline. If you find yourself trading emails back and forth more than three times, it’s a clear sign that this is a conversation you could have over the phone.

2) Are you on the clock?

Research has shown that email stress can be greatly reduced if you refrain from checking your work email when you are outside of normal business hours. Yes, situations will arise that demand you check in during your off hours (proposal deadlines, mandatory overtime, etc.). But when you can control your working hours, make sure to separate yourself from work completely in your off hours by staying out of your work email.

3) Is your subject line getting the point across?

To cut down on the back and forth, and to make sure that your responsive emails are getting prioritized correctly, make sure that your subject line accurately reflects the urgency and necessity of the email. If your subject lines are passive, then the person you’re sending it to likely won’t even read it until the matter you’ve emailed about has become urgent. If the recipient isn’t on the same page as you concerning priorities, then it’s only going to cause you more stress later as you wait for a reply that’s never going to come.

4) Are you using the right tone in your response?

Keep things positive, supportive, and progressive. Do not allow your emails to be filled with superfluous text. If you are emailing about an important subject, state just how important it is. Do not risk your recipient reading between the lines, because they are just as busy (if not more so) than you are and will not put in the effort to decipher your mystery tone.