Who loves their email? Lovin’ those 150-200 emails you receive each day? I expect your answer to be “NO”.

But why do we put so much emphasis on it then? Why do we check it whenever we get a spare moment?

Why do we treat each email equally? That’s STUPID.

Email is not a good communication platform. Actually, it’s really not communicating – good communication happens in real-time and is two-way. How many misunderstood emails have you sent or received in your lifetime?

Here are some simple tricks I teach my clients:

1. Prioritize your email. Use Rules to assign colors to important emails (Red for the Boss or Clients, Blue for emails with you on the TO: line) and Gray for all other email. Trash any CC: email – trust me, it’s not important and you’re not missing anything.

When you open your email (you never keep it open all day), you will immediately see the Red and Blue emails first – choose one of four actions:

Act – if you can respond within 1-2 minutes with an answer, do it.
Delegate – Push it to someone else and let all parties know.
File – Read info and file, not all emails need a response.
Trash – Get it out of your head and life, stop thinking about it.

2. Check your email 3 times a day. In the morning, after lunch, and right before you leave. Instead of responding by email – call. If there is something important or an emergency, they should call you.

And most importantly, keep your email ‘bat-signal’ OFF. Having an animation or number appear only distracts you from your more important work.

3. Use the phone more often. Leave 20-30 second messages and only talk to someone for no longer than 3-5 minutes. If you need longer, set up a 10-15 minute meeting, no longer. You will get a reputation for short calls and your colleagues/clients will most likely pick up the phone rather than let it zip to voicemail.

4. Stop by offices more often. You then control the time you talk. Make the ‘drive-by’ 3-5 minutes and then be off.

At the end of the day, email will suck the living daylights out of your productivity, motivation, and life. Trust me.

What tips and tricks do you use to keep your email behaviors efficient and effective?