You spend your life in a recruitment office doing one of two activities. You’re either on the phone or replying to emails.
OK, there’s occasional banter with your colleagues. But hopefully that’s alleviating stress, not adding to it.
Now, between phoning people and emails, the phone’s a necessity. No matter how much emphasis your boss puts on it, you need to stay constantly connected. With a bit of luck, you don’t have a large projection of a league table constantly flashing in front of you.
But where the phone’s a constant draw on time and effort, email needn’t be.
And here are some top tips to help you achieve higher productivity in your daily life.
Do this now.
A few months ago I turned all notifications off on my phone. Nothing from WhatsApp, emails, texts. Only phone calls. And even they come through silently. I write for a living, so I’d lived the silent life for a while anyway.
But I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to not get little flashes of light and beeps constantly throughout the day.
Even if you decide that’s a step too far, email notifications on either your phone or computer aren’t helping you stay focused. And you know what? You’ll check too often anyway. I’d guess it’s rare you miss an important email. So, do you really need a little popup instructing you to check that very minute?
Let me ruin the surprise. You don’t.
As a follow on to the above, if you’re not getting notifications on your desktop, you’ll need to check in regularly to make sure you’ve not missed any offers.
Just for a moment however, think about the last time you received an email with high importance.
Now think about whether or not the sender specified “If I don’t hear back from you within 4 hours I’ll assume you’re not interested.”
It doesn’t happen. You’ve got time. So to make sure you’re on top of things, schedule suitable times to respond to your inbox. Three’s a nice number and breaks the day up nicely.
First thing in the morning, over lunch and at the end of the day.
This practice goes hand in hand with not being in a footrace with other agencies. Which in turn emphasises the need to get exclusive with your clients. Not only will you feel less stressed, but you’ll free up your day to focus on one thing at a time.
One of the most useful tips in writing is: be basic.
That is, don’t write the same thing twice. And this is incredibly powerful in email.
Everyone you email is time short. Show them you know their time’s precious by not wasting it.
You can eradicate virtually every word not adding value and delete a vast amount of sentences.
If you know you’re boss is going to send round a motivational email every morning ‘rallying the troops’, you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.
Set up a rule that sends it straight to junk. And genuinely think about the conversation that follows when they ask why you’ve not replied.
“Sorry I was too busy working to reply to say I was working.”
Do this with every email you don’t need to read immediately. You can set up rules or quick steps on Outlook for most eventualities, and save yourself the hassle of deleting or moving them manually.
Before you light torches, grab your nearest pitchfork and Google our office address, I’m not suggesting you stop using Outlook.
I know email’s a big thing for recruiters.
But you don’t need to email internally. It’s an incredible waste of your time. If your boss thinks they still need email internally, ask them politely whether they have loads of free time to waste.
They’ll say no.
Suggest your company checks out Slack. Or any other much more productive form of internal comms application. Both they, and you will thank me for it.
If you don’t yet subscribe to my weekly email, take a look. I suggest three tools every single week that can save you time and make you money. A lot of these are email based.
Like wunderlist for example. This snazzy tool will manage your schedule automatically using your inbox without you having to open it. Or you could look at Unroll Me. A tool which rattles through every mailing list you’re on, and offers you the option of unsubscribing or managing how often you see them.
Email Monster will take the time out of creativity. So you never have to think about creation to make your replies and mailers look snazzz. Canned Email has minimal email templates you can simply click and send.
But there’s nothing to stop you saving replies in drafts either. Just save something you write all the time, and you can save yourself bags of time by not having to manually type it out each time.
If you ever catch yourself writing emails such as ‘OK’ or ‘Fine’.
Just stop doing this.
Your recipient doesn’t have time to read chit chat, and you don’t have time to send them. You’re wasting the lives of two people, if what you’re sending isn’t actionable. You also won’t build rapport through Outlook.
If you want to do that, suggest a coffee or a beer. You’ll get much more buy in. The moment you stop responding to vacuous emails is the moment you start taking control of your own time and sanity.
Recruitment Consultant at Austin Fraser & Austin Vita
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