Did you know that professionals spend an average of 13 working hours each week in their email inbox. That’s a LOT of time that could be more productively spent.
Staying on top of it can be a daunting task. You only have to leave it alone for a couple of hours and you come back to inbox overwhelm each and every time. Then, the more the emails mount up, the more anxiety inducing it is.
I had one client who wanted me to organise their inbox and they had over 12,000 messages just sat there spanning over a period of about 5 years!!!
I know we are technically in Summer now, but we can still Spring clean right? So why not detox that inbox by using some of the tips below.
- Make a date with your inbox. Set aside a specific day and time to give it some attention. Put it in your calendar and make sure you keep your appointment – don’t procrastinate!
- Unsubscribe from emails you don’t read, want or can’t even remember subscribing to. I used to sign up to anything and everything, but never ended up reading any of it. So BE RUTHLESS
- Create Folders – decide on a system that works for you. Some people find it easier to search for emails by subject, but you can be more strategic by creating folders based on time, i.e. Today, This Week, This Month, This Quarter.
- Create Filters – one by one type in the email addresses of people you deal with on a regular basis. Then create a folder label for each one. The key is then to set up filters and rules so that anything that comes from a specific email address is automatically labelled for you as soon as it reaches your inbox. Therefore, once you have replied, just click ‘Archive’ and it goes straight into the required folder – no thinking required!
- Archive old messages – if you really must hold on to old emails, send them to archive rather than having them clog up your lovely clean inbox.
Keeping it Clean
After you’ve spent all that time getting yourself to inbox zero, you want to keep it that way right? Here are a few tips:-
- Use David Allen’s Two Minute Rule – if an email will take you less than two minutes to respond to, deal with it and move on. Don’t store it for later.
- As soon as an email has been dealt with, either delete it or label it and put it in the correct folder – get it out of that inbox.
- Consolidate your emails. Rather than tearing your hair out trying to manage different inboxes, consolidate everything so it’s all in one place.
Still using your inbox as a to-do-list? You can save yourself so much time by using a task management system instead, such as Asana or Todoist. There are loads of apps now – the choice is endless. This means your inbox isn’t clogged up with tasks that need doing.