Time-Saving Tip of the Week

This is a seemingly easy one, but we wonder: how many of us do it? Between the two of us, Judy is guilty of it. Are you? We are talking about immediately responding to any new e-mail message that comes in, thus decreasing the focus you might have had on a translation project. Should you? It depends.

In time management classes, one learns to figure out if things are urgent/not urgent and important/not important. Almost all e-mails will have one characteristic from either category. In terms of e-mail answering while you are doing something else, you should try to only immediately answer e-mail that's both urgent and important (i.e., client asks a follow-up question on a translation, client needs clarification, client needs an urgent translation quote, etc.). Ideally, every other e-mail you'd answer at specific pre-scheduled times during the day. Time management experts are generally in agreement that this is the most efficient way to handle the hundreds of e-mails we get every day. However, who's really doing that? Are you? Judy is not. She reads every e-mail immediately and usually responds right away. Dagmar is much more disciplined and focused on this and only takes immediate action if necessary.

How do you handle the extraordinary amount of e-mail you receive? Do you have a specific strategy? We'd love to hear about it in the comments section.


Karen Tkaczyk on September 9, 2009 at 6:09 PM said...

I don't look at my inbox every time an email comes in, but when I look at my inbox I handle everything that has come in since the last time I checked. If it can be handled quickly I reply immediately. If it needs some thought I try to get to it the same day, or I reply to say I won't handle it till whenever it will be. I try to work on the 'do what is important before it becomes urgent' principle.

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The entrepreneurial linguists and translating twins blog about the business of translation from Las Vegas and Vienna.

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