Productivity Tips: 5 reasons to schedule your email replies
One of the most profound pieces of advice I got from my business coach in 2021 was: “not everyone deserves access to you” (I’m paraphrasing a bit here) but this discussion came up when I was discussing feeling pressured to reply fast to people on social media and in emails. The moral of the story? Not everyone deserves VIP best friend energy from me.
One way I enacted boundaries in my inbox? Scheduling email replies. If you have ADHD, people-pleaser tendencies, or a fuck-ton of emails and are trying to manage your time better, keep reading for these tips.
5 reasons to schedule your email replies
Reason #1: some people will reply instantly no matter what
I see this at my day job in operations management and in my inbox as an entrepreneur. Whether it’s a tough conversation, a resource guide, or a scheduling question — some people will just reply immediately without thinking or considering an email. You can sit and feed the beast, (which plays into reason #2) by replying instantly yourself — but this often isn’t the most productive route.
Reason #2 reply immediately without getting sucked into replies
Going hand in hand with reason #1, another great reason to schedule a reply is that I know MANY of us have to reply right away or else we’ll forget. That being said, people rarely need an instantaneous answer from you. Scheduling replies ensure I create a flow with my inbox, sending gout replies in a way that doesn’t pressure clients to feel a sense of urgency in responding. You absolutely will get sucked into replying if you are determined to reply within 24 hours to every email you receive. Unless you’re in a customer service role, odds are your inbox does not require this sort of ruthless efficiency.
Reason #3 create internal priorities
Sometimes the best barrier to a project timeline is exactly that: time. If someone is waiting on a reply from you, it can certainly slow down the project timeline. But on the flip side of this — delaying a reply can ensure the folks going in on a project with you understand that this is not an urgent milestone. As a business coach, a lot of clients are surprised to learn from me that one of the ways I am more efficient is in scheduling my downtime // slowing down on my response time if something isn’t truly “urgent” because most of the time, it isn’t. I’m not a paramedic, and odds are, you aren’t either. It’s okay to slow down and give the people around you a chance to dedicate time to other higher-priority projects if this applies.
Reason #4 Considering your answer
I am a chronic instant-replier. I love to give people information SUPER fast. But in 2021 I was challenged to slow down and consider. To re-read and re-read, and let the information sit and simmer in my mind. I am not thinking about something, so I learned how to use that superpower in emailing folks. When I schedule replies it helps me to consider my answer, AND go back and change my mind. If I schedule a reply for 48 hours from now, 24 hours into me thinking about this email, I may have a realization that there is more information, or unnecessary information included in my reply that I want to change. Scheduling my reply helps me share more efficient answers with my correspondent because I spend more time considering my reply.
Reason #5 Setting professional boundaries
The alternate title for reason #5 is “Be your own CEO”. One of the major breakdowns in company hierarchical systems is that admins, operations, and coordinators are often left waiting on an answer from a supervisor, manager, or executive. This is because a CEO understands and makes self-determination of what is truly a priority and what can afford to wait. This may cause backups in team flows and communications, and if it does then that’s an opportunity for feedback. But this can also ensure that the team shifts focus to other projects when they understand this one answer is not a 24-hour urgent reply.
If you loved these reasons to schedule your email replies, here are a few links on how to schedule replies in popular email delivery systems: