If you have a work inbox, you most likely will get emails everyday. Some from your clients, your suppliers, email listings and some unwanted. So how exactly are you suppose to deal with your inbox on a daily basis so it doesn’t take over your business life?
Choose a Time Slot
Find a time slot in the day when you choose to open your emails. If you are easily distracted, do not make it the first task in the morning as it may spiral out of control if something catches your fancy. I choose to open my emails first thing as it helps set my mind for the day, especially information from my clients and email subscriptions. Allocate a specific amount of time to deal with your emails, mine is twenty minutes maximum.
Filter Your Emails
Some of your email will be urgent, some will be for further reference and some are meant for trash or junk mail. Try to read through the important ones rather than save them for later. Reduce the mail in your inbox as you go along – do not be afraid to hit the delete button. Compartmentalized them into folders such as resources, email subscriptions, junk etc. Make sure that your ‘read later’ pile is kept to a minimum and do ‘read them later’.
No Entry – Friends and Family
Politely ask your family and friends not to send personal emails to your work inbox. Less mail from loved ones can drastically reduce your workload and sifting process. If they must send one (for business), ask them to make it short and to the point.
Reply in a Jiffy
If you need to reply to an email, summarise your points and do not go into an elaborate write-up.
Maintain Good Practice
- Once an email is read, remove it from your inbox either into another folder for reference or delete it.
- Try to keep your inbox as clear as possible, if an email is lingering there for too long – maybe you do not need it after all.
- Unsubscribe from email listings you no longer find useful and keep subscriptions to a manageable level.
- Make it a habit to junk the mail you did not solicit for or need.
- Keep your work inbox for work and not for leisure activities, if necessary create a mail box for that purpose and make sure you notify people to use it for your personal emails.
- Shift through your inbox once a week to weed out emails that have been lingering unread for days.
- Show junk and spam mail no mercy as they are major time-wasters.
- Do not visit your inbox too many times during the day, I visit mine thrice a day morning, lunchtime and before I close shop for the day.
- If you are expecting an important mail, then be strict with yourself to check in and check out without loitering!
Don’t forget to glance through your junk mail as some important mail might slip through the net. As you tackle your inbox this week, be firm so you can spend your time doing what matters.
Wishing you every success.
Coming soon to a site near you – Time Management Tips for a More Effective You.
Photo courtesy of sxc.hu Kveselyte, WR-fife