E-mail remains an important means of communication in the digital age. In fact, a 2012 study by the McKinsey Global Institute found that one-quarter of an employee’s work day is spent answering and reading emails. It’s a lot less intrusive than instant messages but just as efficient. Aside from work, we use emails to keep in touch with our loved ones who live in other cities, send invitations and a whole lot more.
One of the downsides of e-mail though is that if you don’t manage your inbox well, it can quickly become a chaotic clutter of urgent messages, spam and useless advertisements. Imagine the mind-numbing effort involved in having to go through 1,000 unopened emails just to look for that one important project that a client sent you last week. Avoid that exhausting scenario and stay on top of your e-mail inbox with these smart tips:
Schedule Specific Time for Emails
Instead of responding to every new email that arrives, set aside specific times during the day to read and respond to emails. Depending on how much you rely on email for communicating, this can range from 10 minutes per hour to three times per day. This trick will keep you focused and more mindful on the tasks that you need to do.
You can also opt to send an auto-response email informing people about the specific times that you check your email and include an alternative way they can reach you for really urgent concerns. It can go this way:
Because of the high volume of work that I am currently doing, I only check my emails at these times: 10 AM and 5 PM. If you have something very urgent and cannot wait for these set times, you may contact me in my phone at 123-456-789
Use Labels and Folders
With virtually unlimited email storage now available, many people aren’t so keen about deleting messages in their inbox anymore. That said, you do not want to end up with an inbox that’s a hodgepodge of every single email you’ve received in the last 5 years. Save yourself the time and the headache and start putting labels on your emails and creating folders.
As soon as you are done reading or responding to an email, transfer it from the main inbox and into the designated sub folder. This will also teach you to prioritise and be more systematic in the way you go through your emails.
Unsubscribe From Unnecessary Emails
Keep your inbox clutter-free by regularly unsubscribing from promotional messages that you do not need. Sure it’s nice to stay up to date with the latest promotions of your favorite coffee shop but regular advertisements and newsletters can make your inbox an eyesore and, worse, they can bury urgent and more important emails.
Quickly take stock of the mailing lists you are currently subscribed to by typing “unsubscribe” on your the search bar of your email inbox. Evaluate which newsletters are really necessary and get rid of the others.
Equip Your Inbox With Email Tools
If you use email as an important part of your business then you can integrate e-mail tools to make it more seamless and organised. One tool that I myself use and recommend is Yesware. It’s very useful for getting e-mail-related data such as which emails you sent have already been opened by the receiver, how much time recipients spend on the attachments you sent and more. With these stats, you can be smarter and more efficient in the way you send emails to your team and clients.
Yesware can be integrated in popular email applications like Gmail, Outlook, Office 365 and G-Suite.
Sharon Kaibel is a performance and productivity coach. Sharon helps business owners create the strategy, structure and systems to build and grow a profitable business. Join her Closed Facebook Group, the #ACHIEVERNETWORK for the community, resources and trainings to become an extraordinary achiever.