Your inbox! It’s one of the most useful work tools but it can be difficult to keep on top of all the information that comes in whilst juggling other work demands. Here are 5 tips to help stop your inbox from bogging you down.
1. Find Other Ways To Chat
If you’ve got a really quick message to send that’s not necessary to have on record such as ‘are you still free for that chat later?’ do it on a DM application such as Skype or if your company is on Gmail, via Gmail chat.
It de-clutters your email and filters email correspondence to the bigger & more important projects only.
2. Don’t Check Emails First Thing In The Morning
Try to dedicate at least 2 hours to your to-do list first thing to make progress on that before delving in. Many times I’ve been anxious about my to-do-list and promised deadlines only to get distracted by emails before I’ve even started my day. Then worse, carrying that to-do-list and angst into the next day.
You should write your to-do-list at the end of the day for peace of mind and crack on first thing, without any non-urgent distractions.
3. Schedule email time
This follows on from the last point. Every email is either a distraction or an action. Every sender wants a response to their email ASAP but only a couple of emails are actually urgent. Try scheduling in dedicated email time (say an hour or two) in the AM and PM to keep a steady eye on it. Replying in bulk means individual emails don’t interrupt your concentration on your overall task list.
Turn off your notifications to resist temptation and ask people to follow up urgent emails sent via phone or a chat. After all, if it really is super urgent, they won’t usually mind!
4. Sort Yourself An Archive Folder.
If an email is deemed ‘no action required’ drag it immediately into your archive folder. Out of sight, out of mind. Read your ‘read only’ emails immediately then archive and turn urgent ones into your to-do-list. An extension of this is to also add a ‘Read Only’ folder to go back to at your leisure.
These processes de-clutter your inbox, shorten thinking time and effectively turns your main inbox into an ‘action only’ folder to organise and direct your eye straight to your need-to-dos during your scheduled email time!
5. Do 2 Minute Jobs Immediately Upon Reading
Easy one! If you can complete an email in less than two minutes, do it there and then and of course -archive!
Simply, this makes the inbox appear immediately smaller and every time we read an action we haven’t completed, it adds to the weight on our shoulders of our ‘to-do-list’ in our heads. Remember the straw that broke the camels back? De-clutter your inbox – de- clutter your mind!
Which tips work for you? Please share them with us in the comment box!
Nicola Lawler, Head of Marketing at Projectus Consulting