So, your inbox is overflowing. It’s stressing you out. You have pages of unreturned emails and you don’t think you will ever keep up. You also have a bad habit of constantly checking your email and you know it’s not helping your productivity at work. So, how can you be more productive and smarter about managing your email inbox throughout the day?
Here is our 5-Step Email Help Guide to improve your efficiency and increase your peace:
Step 1: Prioritize
Every morning, prioritize the most important emails and flag the emails that absolutely MUST get done that day. You don’t want to be answering any emails that can wait until tomorrow or later.
Step 2: Monitor
If you can, I highly recommend just checking email only a few times a day. Turn off email notifications. If you are worried about missing something, you can monitor urgency of emails but never respond to emails that aren’t urgent.
Step 3: Sort
Don’t keep emails sitting in your inbox if you have already completed an action. If something is unresolved and you have emailed someone else to take an action, take it out of your inbox and put it into a separate folder. Don’t track other people’s actions in your inbox. Even better, send emails that are tasks to a project management tool such as Asana.com and set a deadline for yourself or a teammate. Then, archive the email (really easy with gmail).
Step 4: Delete
Delete as much as possible before you leave for the day. Set a timer and get as many emails out of your inbox as quickly as possible. Either sort or delete. The feeling of an inbox with only 5-10 emails or ZERO if possible before you leave for the night is HEAVEN! Before you leave work each night when your brain is exhausted and you can’t focus anymore, clear out your inbox. Put everything that is just informational and doesn’t involve a task you need to complete in a separate folder.
Step 5: Unsubscribe
Every second you waste scanning and deleting an email that you don’t want in your inbox in the first place is a complete waste of time. Go through your deleted files and start unsubscribing from newsletters and emails that you didn’t want and deleted. I spend 15 minutes every month unsubscribing to a lot of emails at once.
Have a lightbulb? Did this Email Help Guide improve your email habits?
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