Email Management – 15 ways to take control of your inbox

email-management

Are you frustrated with your inbox?  Does finding a message in your inbox take longer than several minutes?  Do you use your email as a to-do-list, storage area or reference system?

The prevalence of email at work presents several challenges when trying to remain productive.  Inboxes can be stored as electronic filing cabinets, sometimes containing hundreds of messages with no structure or organization.  The process of cleansing your inbox can be daunting, especially if you are accustomed to working in a reactive mode.

To help you process your email more efficiently, we’ve outlined 15 effective email management tips to help you take control of your inbox:

  1. Create an email schedule
  2. Read it, answer it
  3. Unsubscribe to e-newsletters
  4. Turn off social media notifications
  5. Eliminate spam
  6. Delete messages that have no value
  7. File, flag and set reminders
  8. Use filters, folders and rules
  9. Avoid selecting “Reply All”
  10. Enable an out-of-office response if you have limited access to email
  11. Delete duplicate emails and earlier portions of email chains
  12. Turn off signals that alert you to a new email message
  13. Archive old email
  14. Set aside specific times throughout the day to review your inbox
  15. Clear out your inbox daily

Once you have significantly reduced emails in your inbox, commit to sorting through new email right away.  Process your email several times a day, don’t just check messages.  Read the subject line of each email to help determine what  email to open.  Make a decision on each email – delete it, forward it to the appropriate person (and then delete it or file it), quickly reply (if you can do so in a few minutes), flag it for follow-up or file it for reference.  Delete any messages you do not need to read or keep.  Deal with each email as you open it.

Remember, email should not be the catch-all for work communications. If email is not the right way to answer the message, treat the message need as valid and describe what other channels should be used instead.  Sometimes a quick phone call or face-to-face conversations are more practical to clear up any confusion or confirm details.

Managing email overload frees up a lot of mental space, allowing you more time to accomplish your daily tasks.  Avoid the vicious cycle of email overload by enabling a daily time slots to process your emails.  Prioritizing emails will help you keep up with critical actions and due dates, improve your response time and help avoid messages falling through the cracks.  For more information on email management download our free white paper.

Is your email inbox out of control?  What methods do you use for organizing your email and emptying your inbox?

One Comment on "Email Management – 15 ways to take control of your inbox"

  1. LDeSanctis says:

    Thanks for your comments.

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