12 ADHD Friendly Suggestions to Master Email

Emails are a great way to keep in touch and communicate with people all over the world. Yet, at times the influx of messages can feel distracting, overwhelming and as if email is taking over your whole life!

1) Don’t Check Email All Day

Nothing sabotages productivity more than having your inbox open all day. You find yourself checking it when you are bored, during telephone calls or when you should be starting a deep concentration task.
Instead, have set times of the day where you check your email. For example, you could check it at 9.am, 1pm and 4pm.

Some ADHDers are resistant to this structured email checking idea. They argue that due to the nature of their job, closing their inbox would be impossible. In reality there aren’t many jobs where an open inbox is a requirement.

Usually the resistance is because you secretly enjoy the distraction it provides, which I totally understand. If going cold turkey feels hard, gradually decrease the number of times a day you check your email.

2) Do Check Your Emails

There are so many ways to keep in touch with people these days such as, Texting, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Whatsapp, that some people don’t use their email.
However, if you have an email account, it is important that you check it!

You can miss important information by not looking. If you really don’t need email, close your account down. But if you have one, check it at least once a day.

3) Keep Emails Short

Keep emails short and to the point. ADHD adults are chatty and knowledgeable, yet emails don’t need to be written as you would talk. By keeping emails compact, they are quicker for you to write and easier for the recipient to read, understand and reply to.
Entrepreneur and author, Guy Kawasaki, believes the best length for email is 5 sentences. Less than that seems abrupt and rude and longer than 5 sentences is unnecessary.

Being concise isn’t a new idea. Hemingway said, ‘You can remove words which are unnecessary and tighten up your prose.’

If being brief is a challenge, there is an app to help! It’s called the Hemingway app, and it aims to help your writing be bold and brief: http://www.hemingwayapp.com

4) One Topic Per Email

Restricting each email to a single topic is ideal, as emails having multiple topics typically don’t get fully read. Topics further down in the email will receive less attention from the reader.

If ever you do need to send an email with multiple topics, create a heading for each topic. It’s easier for you to write and easier for the recipient to notice the different subjects.

5) Create a Stock Email Reply

If you find yourself answering the same or similar questions, create a ‘stock email’ for that question. Keep your stock reply in an email folder where it is easy to find. Then simply cut and paste when needed. Don’t worry; it’s not rude or cheating. Even if you personalize it a little, your stock emails will save you time and brain power.

6) Become a Speedy Typer

If your days involve a lot of typing, take typing lessons. Learning to type is one of the most useful skills I have ever learned. It saves so much time.

7) Unsubscribe

Unsubscribe from email newsletters that are no longer interesting to you. They fill up your inbox and make it hard to find important emails. Plus it’s easy to get distracted and read them when there are more pressing things to do.

8) Press Delete

As a polite person, when someone sends you an email, your first instinct is probably to reply. However, it’s not necessary to reply to all emails. Some emails are just ‘FYI’ emails to keep you in the loop. Others are unsolicited or spam, so it’s fine to delete those.

9) Email is Not Always Quicker

If you spend a lot of time writing emails each day, it’s easy to forget it isn’t always the best mode of communication. Sometimes it’s easier to pick up the phone than spending time writing complex ideas in an email.

10) Be Careful

If you are addressing a sensitive matter and would be embarrassed if anyone besides the intended recipient read it, pick up the phone and talk instead. Emails can accidentally get sent to the wrong people very easily.

11) Turn Emails into a Game

Turn writing emails into a game. Set your timer for 30 minutes and have a goal to write “X” number of emails in that time. You will become more productive and even have fun.

12) Combat Email Anxiety

If you have an email to write that is causing you anxiety, set your timer for 15 minutes. Most emails can be written in that time. Knowing that any pain you are experiencing will be over in 15 minutes or less helps get the job done. Then give yourself a reward!

Do you have any tips to keep on top of your emails? Leave a note in the comments below.

Comments

  1. Moe says:

    My issue is I feel like I need to save every email “just in case.” Or when my inbox at work is becoming more and more full it gives me anxiety working on a project and seeing more pop up. I’ve learned to try and minimize my inbox but my colleagues will come by and either reference a new email or start talking about an email they sent me only within the last hour or two. I say that I haven’t gotten to it yet I’m on a project, and ask if they need something or help immediately. Any tips for email clutter and follow up on pending items? I usually leave unfinished biz in my inbox to spike my memory that the job isn’t closed yet. Thank you.

    • Hi Moe
      Rather than using your inbox as way to remind yourself of jobs that are unfinished…write those jobs on a white board. Then the white board acts as your visual reminder and gets you out of your inbox!

  2. Javier says:

    Wow wow… after so long reading about ADHD and how to be productive one just think that all is already written and that you have read it all once and again… but look, points 11 and 12 … they are simply brilliant ideas I never heard about. And the whole set of 12 tips is really gold thing… I’m printing it out us such! thank you very much Jacqueline.

  3. Just signed up for your ezine… hope I don’t have to delete it due to lack of interest…!!! Just messing with you…
    Email is a blessing and a curse to be sure. I have my web designer setting me up on Gmail next week in order to organize and tame the email beast a bit better.

  4. J.Feeser says:

    Sound tips for me to follow. So easy to get bogged down with the non-important. I also utilize the feature in my email of directing different types of email (ie family, newsletters, etc) to different folders so I can tend to business first.

    • Jacqueline Sinfield says:

      That is a great idea about directing different types of email to folders so can focus on what is most important first. What email system do you use?

  5. Jacqueline Sinfield says:

    J! So happy it was helpful 🙂
    Those 30 minute power email sessions are a great way to be able to get lots of other tasks done as well as responding to email promptly.

  6. J. Beahm says:

    Very helpful! I have an ebay business and while I pride myself on always getting back to people quickly, I can still accomplish that by setting aside 30 minutes sessions. Thank you!

  7. Some great tips! I have done some unsubscribing and brought the kitchen timer into the office

  8. I like your tip about only checking e-mail at a certain time of the day. I am so easily enslaved by my inbox! I feel like I need to check it all the time! In reality, things really can wait an hour or so.

    • Jacqueline Sinfield says:

      Hi Hailey!!
      We can make up rules for ourselves, like ‘I need to check email all the time’ . But those rules can be broken, and we when we can habits/rules we end up being happier and more productive! Let me know how it goes!

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