Today we receive more business email messages than ever before. A mind numbing amount of incoming mail clutters our inbox, destroys our time management and interrupts our personal time. Here are three tried-and-true strategies for controlling, organizing and managing your inbox to help you keep your head above water:
1. Automatically sort email. By setting up rules within your email program, you can automatically move emails into specific folders. For Outlook users, go to “Rules” and set up your automatic moves. For instance, if you receive a lot of emails from a certain sender, create a folder just for those particular emails and then set up a reminder to check the folder periodically. Or, for emails that you routinely forward to a staff member, set up a rule to automatically forward those emails. This will clear the way for the important emails: those from clients and prospects.
2. Plan your email time. Instead of keeping your inbox open all day, check your inbox periodically throughout the day. If your email inbox is left open, you may get a notification with each new message. You may feel compelled to reply on the spot, even if you’re in the middle of something else. To stay productive (without interruption), open your email every two hours or three times a day. Allocate a few minutes to reading, responding, deleting and moving emails to folders for later reading.