Poor email management skills can result in stressful work environments and a backlog of administration, ultimately affecting productivity and wellbeing.
Email is a catalyst to procrastination and emailing during work is distracting, its content can cause anxiety and frustration.
The 2016 study by the Radicati Group showed that there will be 3 billion email users worldwide by 2020, that is nearly half the world’s population! This indicates an overwhelming amount of emails distributed on a daily basis.
In 2017, on average 225.3 billion emails are distributed daily and it is predicted to increase by 4.5 per cent to 257.7 billion per day by 2020! Such staggering statistics make managing our communications incomprehensible alongside other responsibilities.
Twenty-first century jobs require 21st century qualifications.
We live in a time when you can acquire a qualification in social media (marketing), game design and robotics. Many 21st century jobs are yet unknown and difficult to imagine.
A Master of Administration seems like a niche, yet practical qualification considering the average workload of educators.
There are now courses that teach people to navigate the clutter in their inboxes and some organisations are viewing this as a worthy investment in productivity.
In the education sector, organisations are constantly seeking new ways to incorporate digital technologies in the classroom and curriculum.
Schools expect teachers to be proactive in their professional development in order to maintain accreditation against a set of teaching standards.
One of the strands in the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers is the implementation of Information Communication and Technology.
Since the Australian Government’s Digital Education Revolution launched in 2008, more students have access to a personal computer in the classroom.
Ironically, students are engaged in their screen-time and social engagement can be compromised.
Handwriting skills are also suffering due to the prevalence of typing. A growing number of students are finding digital communication to be a stressor and a distraction in their education.
Many teachers receive emails throughout the day from students, parents and colleagues.
This constant flow of correspondence increases their workloads. After-hours email communication also adds pressure on educators and an expectation that they are “on call”.
I interviewed a professional music teacher to learn how she manages her email communications.
Kirsty Roberts is the founder of The Studio and Star Factory. She has four email inboxes and describes them as follows: “one personal, and the others are for three different aspects of my business.
I would consider 100 per cent of emails received to my business accounts relevant to my roles as studio director, vocal/artist development coach and professional songwriter.”
She receives email around the clock from clients in the United States and United Kingdom.
Kirsty spends up to three hours a day on the Internet. She used to feel overwhelmed by emails but now has an assistant to ease the burden of correspondence.
Not all educators have an assistant, therefore time, and knowing how to use it, is imperative in the art of email management.
Registered training organisations such as Swinburne University and Australian Institute of Management (AIM) recognise the need to train candidates in managing their time effectively.
These institutes offer a full-day course in Time Management indicating a niche in the productivity market.
With the variety of courses increasing, further study is appealing as it can widen job prospects, and give people a sense of professional development.
'Professional development' is an education industry buzz term, but if formal study does not appeal, you may benefit from one of Australia’s top 10 business books, Work Smarter: Live Better.
Author Cyril Peupion is a performance coach who focuses on increasing productivity by helping people change their work habits.
He mentors people in decision-making, overcoming procrastination and gaining basic skills in Microsoft Outlook. Peupion coined the phrase “one touch = one decision” when it comes to taking action on email. His advice on efficient work behaviour has benefitted many organisations.
A consultancy business in Melbourne has provided a range of courses aimed at human resources for more than 20 years.
Performance Development’s course, Outlook Training, was designed to help people “cope with the massive volume of e-mail communication that assails us on a daily basis.”
Steuart Snooks is the course facilitator. His website, Taming the Email Tiger, provides advice to address this prominent issue.
Snooks claims that a lack of processes to manage email volumes is the culprit behind inefficient time management.
So the question remains; do you garner the skills to effectively manage email clutter, or more radically, disable your email accounts altogether?
As professionals, it is hard to imagine working in an organisation without an email account. Imagine how much more time you would have in your day if you did not have to press reply, send, delete or unsubscribe so often.