Taking back control of your inbox can not only save you time but improve your mental health.
In today’s hyper-connected world, we seem to spend more and more of our time just trying to stay on top of our communication. From emails to texts and everything in between, attempting to keep up with the deluge of conversations, requests for actions and meetings can be overwhelming. We live in a world of constant interruption where the time for deep work is often thwarted.
Research from the US-based Radicati Group found that the average office worker is expected to receive over 120 emails a day by the end of 2019. As this number of emails continues to rise there is growing evidence that email overload is leading to stress and preventing us from doing our jobs well.
According to Harvard Business Review, it can take up to 20 minutes to refocus on a task once you’ve been distracted by email. So, isn’t it time you got out of your inbox and found a way to be more productive in your workday?
Cut back the noise
If you find yourself feeling inundated by all the emails you receive, it’s time to take stock of what’s actually landing in your inbox every morning. Chances are there is a lot of spam, junk mail and newsletters amongst the mix of relevant business emails. It’s time to cut back on that noise.
• Use your Junk email filter to block emails that you do not want to receive
• Set up rules within your email program to automatically send certain types of emails into dedicated folders, keeping your main inbox easy to read
• If it’s trash – delete it!
Keep it under 10
Folder systems are great for filing your emails – but not if they are too complex. Now that you’ve set rules for how your emails land in your inbox, it’s also time to take a look at how you file your emails. A complex filing system for archiving your emails can slow you down.
Do yourself a favour and reduce your number of folders to less than 10. Keep it simple. Decide on the most critical folders and then have a single folder for general email. Too many folders make it too hard to file and too difficult to locate information when you have to find that certain email again.
Empty your inbox
It’s a radical thought, I know, but the aim is to clear your inbox to zero every week.
Think of your inbox the same way you think of your mailbox at home. You wouldn’t leave your ‘snail mail’ piling up and spilling out onto the street.
Empty your inbox each week – file what you need into folders and delete ruthlessly. Your inbox shouldn’t be a repository for storing mail or highlighting your tasks.
Take advantage of schedules
Rather than keeping action items in your inbox, add them to your calendar. This serves a dual purpose of de-clogging your inbox while also giving you a more structured, easy to read view of your ‘to-do’ list. Think of all the time you’ll save in not having to search for specific emails!
You can also set up another schedule of sorts - a time limit or a specific time each day that you will check your emails. You can even add a message to your signature to alert people of this change. This will ensure you aren’t tempted to multitask and can deal with your inbox at a time that suits you.
Email is an important business tool, but it should serve you, not the other way around. Setting up systems and getting your inbox organised will allow you to spend less time on email and more time on doing what you love.
Cloud Line can also help free up your time by taking the complexity out of your business phone system. Find out more here.