Business Email During Business Hours
While I love my iPhone and iPad, it means that I’m never truly away from my office. This can sometimes create work/life balance problems and boundary issues. If you respond to a work-related email on a Sunday morning does it set a precedent that you are always on call and available? Certainly, there are times when urgent issues arise or working outside normal business hours is appropriate or expected, but I would caution about setting unreasonable expectations with your clients and coworkers.
Therefore, as a a general rule (and there are many exceptions) I make it a point to respond to business emails during normal business hours. I also make it a point not to immediately respond to an email within minutes of it hitting my inbox as this too sets an unrealistic expectation for the recipient. There are a number of tools that can help with this.
I again use Sanebox to create a “Tomorrow” folder that will defer messages to the next day. If I receive an email after working hours that is not urgent, I simply file it in the Tomorrow folder and it will reappear in my inbox the next morning. I have a similar rule setup for “Monday” which I will defer emails that come in over the weekend.
I also use the Mail Act-On email plugin that, among other things, has a feature that allows me to respond to an email so I can get it off my mind or out of my inbox, but defer actually sending the reply until a specific time. Sometimes I’ll send the response the next business day, sometimes I’ll delay the response by 30 minutes to an hour. MailHub has similar delayed-send features as well.
Managing email is a constant battle and everyone must find their own workflow and set of tools that works for them. Hopefully some of these tips will help.
This article first appeared in the February 2015 Issue of ScreencastsOnline Monthly Magazine. ScreenCastsOnline monthly magazine is packed with hints, tips, articles and links to streamable versions of ScreenCastsOnline tutorials and delivered monthly via Newsstand on the iPad. You can find out more at http://www.screencastsonline.com/magazine/