While email has made business communication incredibly fast and efficient, it can be frustrating trying to stay on top of your inbox every day. As it is so easy to send off one email after another, this technological wonder has unintentionally led to a massive amount of digital clutter. If left unchecked, you may get overwhelmed by thousands of unsorted messages vying for your attention.
Fortunately, with a few tweaks to your current system, you can sort your email inbox before it spirals out of control. To help you achieve inbox ZEN, read on for a few tips and tricks for a better email management strategy.
1. Deal with Emails in One Click
Most e-mails are relatively easy to deal with, especially those that only need a short and sweet response. But for emails that require more effort, you might decide to deal with them another day. Unfortunately, doing this repeatedly will just add to the hundreds of unprocessed email sitting in your mailbox.
To overcome inbox procrastination, start following the one-click rule. As its name may imply, as soon as you open an email, you can only click on Reply, Delete, or Archive.
2. Unsubscribe from Newsletters
There’s nothing wrong with subscribing to content you genuinely like to read. Over time, though, the number of newsletters you’re subscribed to can get out of hand. Before you know it, they can easily clog up your email and overshadow your more important messages.
The next time a newsletter arrives, ask yourself if you’re still enjoying the content they deliver. If not, it’s time to click on the unsubscribe link, typically found at the top or bottom of the message.
3. File All of Your Incoming Mail
Even if you can’t immediately act on an email, don’t leave it in your inbox to gather dust. By doing so, you’re treating your inbox like an inefficient to-do list rather than a communication tool.
Instead, make it a habit to file each message into an appropriate folder or tag. This will make it easier for you to look for specific emails, which can help save you a lot of time when you’re looking for information for a client or project.
4. Automate Whatever You Can
As you process your inbox, you may notice yourself repeating certain actions across several emails. Given this, one of the best ways to free up your time and your inbox is to look for things you can automate.
For example, if you find yourself typing the same message over and over again, consider creating a template that you can fill in instead. You can also apply filters that will automatically tag or file emails depending on specific criteria that you set.
5. Set a Schedule for Handling Email
Keeping your email app open can get really distracting, especially if you’re receiving alerts for every single message you receive. Unfortunately, this constant stream of beeping and flashing notifications only serves to derail you from more important tasks.
To minimize interruptions in your workflow, try to kick the habit of checking your inbox every few minutes. You can even turn off your email notifications entirely if needed. Then, schedule specific blocks of time dedicated solely to processing your email and nothing else.
By being more mindful of how you normally process your inbox, you can take a step back and make any necessary changes to keep it under control. You may not be able to eliminate your e-mail clutter in one go, but if you keep at it, you’ll reach Inbox Zero in no time. Give these e-mail management strategies a try and see what works for you.