"Make the best use of your time, only answer emails twice a day" say a lot of "time-saving experts". I don't agree with this.
You do need to be disciplined about how much time you spend answering emails, but you should still be alert. Of course, sales, spam, that email from your mum asking if you're coming at the weekend, etc., can be left aside and dealt with later, but what about work and enquiry emails?
Some people say "It's okay, no one expects an immediate reply, they know we're all busy" - but is that really the case?
I can think of at least three occasions where we have won a large contract from a major client, precisely because we answered the initial enquiry email within the hour (the client told us this in their follow up email).
And what about weekends?
We won a high-value contract for a huge company based in the Middle East, because we answered their initial email and follow-up phone call on a Sunday (a normal working day for them). Everything was dealt with over the course of an hour on a Sunday afternoon. Okay, they may well have realised that here Sunday isn't usually considered a working day, and would be happy to wait until Monday, but even so...
One reply we received said, "You've got the work because you're the only one to get back to us." Of course, we don't know how many others they contacted or how long they waited for replies. However, if those others are of the "answer emails twice a day" mindset, then by the time they reply to the enquiry we will have already got that contract.
So, think carefully, before you decide to restrict your contact with clients (either current or potential), because if you don't answer them quickly, a competitor will.
Do you agree?