Do you remember the last time your inbox was empty? Probably never.
Email is a critical part of your day-to-day work, so how do you keep it from becoming a distraction while balancing the things you really need to address? Here a some tips:
1. Delete first, read the remaining messages later. Often times we receive emails that aren’t really worth reading. Start your day by deleting these before you begin opening and reading the important ones. If you are not ready to address the emails you have left in your inbox don’t open them until you have the time to address them.
2. Address then delete or archive. The reason why our inboxes get so out of control is because we often times open an email and intend on responding or acting upon them later. Later can often times turn into never, simply because it is easy to overlook that already opened email. If an email requires a follow up that you don’t have time for, file the message and mark a reminder to follow up. Otherwise forward it, delete it, or file it into a folder.
3. Don’t let it distract you. Incoming emails can be a continuous distraction throughout the day. Designating specific times during the workday to check and respond to emails will allow you to really stay focused on other projects without interruption. The world won’t stop if you don’t check your email every few minutes, we promise!
4. Use folders sparingly. Set up key, strategic folders or you can end up with dozens of folders filled with messages, in addition to the massive number of messages in your inbox. One suggestion is to create a folder labeled “storage” where you can place any non-urgent messages that you might need to reference at a later date. This helps keep your inbox free of clutter and allows you to easily find an old message when you need it.
5. Install a good spam filter. A huge portion of your messages can be unwanted spam, some of which contain viruses. Since not all spam filters are created equal, give us a call and we will be happy to provide you with a recommendation. (312) 360-1900
6. Keep your inbox at zero. Make it a goal to keep your inbox at zero, at least by the end of each week. Truth be told, you really DON’T need all of the emails you keep in your inbox. If this sounds impossible, at least get the number down to fewer than a dozen critical messages you absolutely need to work on within the next 2-3 days.