Get on top of your emails

Another week has started and for those based in the Middle East, it’s already the second day of the working week. Yeah! The weekend is so close. I love it. What I don’t love, though, is coming back to work after the weekend and seeing my inbox filled with emails. How did this happen? Last week, I managed – drum roll, please – to reduce my inbox to a mere 49 emails. With my American and European team still working on Friday, emails were fired out and I’m back in the hundreds. Does this also happen to you?

Here are 8 tips to get on top of you emails again:

  1. When you sign up for newsletters, create a rule in your inbox that moves them directly into a specific “Newsletter” folder. You can gather them there and read them when you have time.
  2. Unsubscribe from newsletters you no longer find meaningful or have time to read them. There’s no point in having them fill up your inbox, even if they’re already moved into a subfolder automatically.
  3. If you make any online purchases, set up a specific email account for this purpose. Don’t use your work account or personal account.
  4. The more emails you sent out, the more emails you receive. If you’re checking emails every time you get notified, not only are you interrupted from what you were working on, you’re also more likely to reply.
  5. However, ask yourself whether a reply is truly necessary. A wise colleague of mine once said “Not every email requires a response.”
  6. If a reply is required, is a quick phone or a chat more effective? If others were copied in, you can still call or meet the sender, sort out the issue and summarise the solution for the others.
  7. Going back to email notifications, turn that little pop up window “You got mail” off. Here’s how you do it in MS Outlook. You can still have the icon with the new envelope enabled, if you insist.
  8. Move towards checking your emails only a few times a day. If you’re not comfortable leaving your inbox alone for 4 hours, check your emails periodically like  every 15, 20 or 30 minutes at first. Stretch the time periods with every day a bit longer.
  9. Delete emails which you no longer need. If you’re not sure whether to delete them, move them into the archive. 95% of these emails won’t be read, yet, it may give you more confidence to move them out of your inbox.
  10. Starting today, make it a rule to review your inbox regularly. This could be during the last hour of your working day or a few hours before the weekend starts. Once you’re on top of your emails from now, you can then tackle the ones received yesterday, a week ago or a month ago.

How do you tame your inbox during the day and week? What tips do you apply which you can share below? Looking forward to hearing from you!

Until next time,

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