personal productivity

Invest 40 Minutes This Weekend to Reduce Your Time on Email Next Week

What if you invested a small amount of time this weekend to make a big improvement in your email game next week? Email is here to stay … as much as you can’t stand it I can guarantee that more email is coming this week. If you find yourself being consistently stressed by email you need to take action to change up your habits to improve your inbox processing!

Email can be an effective tool to scale your influence and reach as a church leader. It allows you to connect with a wide variety of your people. But it can also cripple a leader who doesn’t have a clearly worked out plan for dealing with email. Here a few ways to invest time and effort this weekend to help improve your email efficiency for next week:

  • emailinboxUnsubscribe to eNewsletters // 10 minutes // Over the years you pick up subscriptions to various regular emails. Online retailers send you their “hottest deals” emails once a week. Your college sends you updates on what’s happening with other alumni. That conference you attended last year is counting down this years version that is still 6 months away! Do you really need all these regular emails coming to your inbox? Search on the word “unsubscribe” in your email and you’ll get a list of these automated emails. Go through that list of emails and click the “unsubscribe” link that is typically at the bottom of the email. Only keep those ones that are providing you value.
  • Learn the Keyboard Shortcuts // 20 minutes // A sure fire way to speed up your email processing time is learn how to only use your keyboard and avoiding the mouse or trackpad. You’d be amazed how quickly you can boost your productivity just by only using the keyboard! Invest the 20 minutes this weekend to learn how to use these shortcuts and next week your productivity will soar! Here are PDF versions of “cheatsheets” for three popular email programs: [Gmail] [Outlook] [Apple Mail]
    • Switch to Gmail // You should be using Gmail in the browser. It really is the power email users preferred approach to processing email. There are so many powerful hacks and tools that Google has added to Gmail to make it easy to move through simply. If you are still using an “email client” you are stuck in 2006. [Move over to Gmail this weekend.]
  • Schedule Daily Email Processing Time // 5 minutes // Each email in your box represents a person looking for a response from you. But we often treat those people with a small amount of respect by just squeezing a response out to them in between meetings and conversations. You need to set aside time every day to process your email. For me personally, I do this best first thing in the morning because then my emails end up at the top of other’s people boxes and it clears my mind for the day. Trying to process emails on the go throughout the day ensures you will never get to the bottom of inbox and only frustrate yourself. Book those daily time slots for this coming week over the weekend.
  • Turn off Email on Your Phone. // 5 minutes // I’ve found that leaders that struggle to keep up with their email also seem to look at their phones all the time to see emails throughout the day. Email on your phone is the worst of both worlds … it keeps reminding you that you have email but it’s not a helpful device for responding to mass amounts of email. Phones are really email monitoring devices not email response tools. What if this week you shut off the email on your phone and just processed email during your scheduled times? I think you’ll see a boost in your email productivity and you’ll be able to focus better during the rest of your work. [Click here to learn how to disable email notifications on iPhone, Android, Windows Phone & Blackberry]



  1. Rich, Thanks for the good Reminders and the “Mail” Keyboard Shortcuts… I just moved over to a MacBook Pro and dumped my Windows Laptop so this will help in getting used to Apple Mail.
    The Best Advice I have used is to Turn off notifications on Outlook or Any other computer/tablet mail app. This way you will not be tempted to look at the latest shinny email coming in. Also in my corporate GIG Email is the main way to communicate throughout the Day, but I “train” my team that I only check it at 9/12/5. This way I can get Project work done. If the “worlds on Fire” they can call me , I’ll find out about it somehow.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.