Volumes have been written in the past few weeks about AI and how it will change the way we work forever. But rather than alleviate workloads, it has led to a culture of “always-on”. Emails in particular, appear to be the biggest time thief!
A recent “Any Answers” thread (AccountingWeb) reveals that emails are taking up many valuable work hours as well as leisure hours. An article by Richard Hattersley on AccountingWeb suggests that accountants should dedicate 2 specific time slots per day to check and answer emails.
The AccountingWeb community suggested some valuable tips for accountants.
One: Avoid the distraction
Turn off email notifications and remove email from your smartphone. It has been proven that between one to three hours are lost per day due to the distraction.
Two: Check email in bulk twice a day
Having turned off notifications, it is suggested that you only check emails at specific times of the day and avoid checking them first thing in the morning.
Three: Auto respond
Use the “out of office” reply feature to inform clients that you will respond in due course. This will buy you one to two days time to respond. It is further suggested that you print out emails and place them in your in-tray with other posted letters. This will contextualise them differently and you may find yourself assigning less attention to them.
Four: What’s the real issue?
If your role is not clearly defined, you may find yourself being inundated with emails that could be attended to by more junior staff. The advice to accountants is to hire more staff or shed some of your lower order clients.
Five: Use Technology
Use technology effectively to convert emails into tasks. There are many software applications available to manage your emails and tasks more effectively.
In conlusion: Email is important but don’t become enslaved by it. There has to be a balance as with all things. The worst case scenario if you don’t answer an email at the exact time someone expects you to, they may go elswhere to find their answer.