How to Organize Your Inbox

How would you feel if you turned on your computer and your inbox was empty? Most people would feel relief. The reason being is that most people feel so overwhelmed by the volume of emails in their inbox.

What is your comfort level when it comes to emails?

Do you feel out of control if you have 15 unanswered emails in your inbox?  Do you feel overwhelmed if you have 50? Knowing your comfort level will help you with managing your inbox.

Check out this short video on “How to Organize Your Inbox”

Why not give these top 5 Getting It Together tips a try and see if you can tame your inbox…….even just a little

Tip#1 Exercise control. To be the most productive check emails 2-3 times per day at most unless your job requires otherwise. Pick the same time each day so your clients/friends will know when to expect a reply. I recommend checking your emails at noon and again at 4pm. If you check your emails first thing in the morning it is very easy to get sidetracked. Most important turn off email notifications. The email notification is like a dog with a bone. You hear it and feel like you MUST respond. Stay focused to the tasks you are working on and check those emails only twice a day.

Tip#2 Unsubscribe. Take a close look at all the newsletters you subscribe to. Are they relevant to your life right now?   Set up a “to read” folder for all other newsletters you enjoy and find helpful. ( Like this one :)) Immediately move them from your inbox to your folder. OR set up a RRS feed in Google Reader. Put a filter to go straight “to read”. Give yourself a time limit. If you have not read those newsletters in a month then delete. It means you probably will not get around to reading them. We all have the best of intentions. Life gets busy and time flies. One of the best things about being portable is you can read your newsletters on a plane, while waiting for a Doctor’s appointment or on a beach.

Tip#3 Action Folder. Create an action folder. Move emails that need your action into this folder. These are not important or urgent emails. Take a few minutes a day and deal with each email. Do not look at it if you cannot deal with it right away. Can you delegate any of the “actions?”

Tip#4 Important Folder. Pick the top 8-12 most important emails and move them to this folder. Deal with these right away. Having them in a folder will help with not getting side tracked. Once you have dealt with those 8- 12 then move another 8-12 over and deal with them. Some people like to colour code their emails. This can look cluttered and again it is easy to get side tracked. I do however always highlight my most important emails in red.

Tip#5 New Policy.  Every new email that comes in will follow this new policy of being filed.  Let people know you will only be checking emails 2 – 3 times per day and that you will get back to them in a timely manner unless your job/personal life requires different. Only look at emails when you have the time to deal with what is inside that email. Take a few minutes each week and clear/clean out your inbox of any unwanted not needed emails. It is no different than tossing out the mail you have read. A cluttered inbox can mean a cluttered mind.

Ask friends and family to take you off their “joke” list. Yes it is fun to receive jokes however it is so easy to get sidetracked. A time buster at its best.

If you absolutely love getting jokes then set up a folder. Read them at the end of the day, on your coffee break or on weekends.

80% of what we file never gets looked at again!!

Keep you outgoing emails short and to the point. One subject matter per email. Be sure to change the subject line if you have changed subjects in a reply. I like to give as much information in the subject line as I can. For example: “Inbox training/tips “or “You are invited to dinner on July 22/16 at 7pm” This is helpful for filing purposes and quick referencing.

What’s great about being organized is you have more time to enjoy these finer things in life.
How would you spend your extra time? Please leave a comment in the box below.

PS: Are you still feeling overwhelmed by the volume of emails? If so, grab your FREE over the phone consultation.

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