How to Get Two More Productive Hours at Work Everyday With One Simple (Surprising) Strategy

In our previous blogs we focused on how unmanaged email can affect your work life negatively.

And, we focused on how the telephone is more effective than email in communicating your message effectively.

However, email is a fact of life in business, so if you must use it, it’s important to use and manage it effectively.

Here’s how to start…

Go to your manager and ask (based on your job description)…

  • Which people do I have permission to email?
  • Which people don’t I have permission to email?
  • Which people can I cc when I email?
  • Which people can’t I cc when I email?

At the same time, ask…

  • Which people have permission to email me?
  • Which people don’t have permission to email me?
  • Which people can cc me when they email someone else?
  • Which people can’t cc me when they email someone else?

If your manager can’t answer any one of these questions, it’s important that they find out the answer and then tell you.

Here’s why.

  1. Based on your job description, you may not have the authority to get this information yourself. Your manager may have to get it for you.
  1. Without this information, you have no control over who emails you and who copies you on emails.
  1. Which means that you have no guidelines on who to email or who to copy.
  1. And, if you are a manager, you will find out how much control you actually have over the information coming into and going out of your department, including whether it is increasing or decreasing the productivity of you and your team.

This is true for most people with very few exceptions.

Most people’s jobs can be done more effectively with significantly fewer emails than they are getting now.

And, the numbers tell a surprising story.

Research shows that if you are getting more than 35 emails a day, you are probably out of control.

Here’s the math.

The average amount of time to read and answer an email effectively is about 5 minutes. This is the average of short and long emails.

That means 35 emails takes 175 minutes or nearly 3 hours a DAY!

So, if your job description doesn’t specify that you spend 3 hours of your working day reading and replying to emails, you’re out of control.

Now, many of us get and reply to over 100 emails a day. And, over 80 of them are probably unnecessary.

If you are working longer and getting less done, it might have something to do with your emails.

Perhaps this exercise might help.

For the next 90 days, and with the help of your manager, try to get your emails down to around 15 per day.

If you are self-employed, you might want to do this exercise for yourself.

You will free up almost 2 hours to be more productive.

If this doesn’t make you more productive, there is likely something else going on that is affecting productivity.

At Breakthrough Management, we diligently follow these guidelines because we know it significantly improves our productivity.

This blog is part of a series. The first two parts can be found here: and here: