9 Ways to Manage your Insanely Large Inbox

Email overload

In the words of Douglas Adams “Don’t Panic”.

Email Overload is a modern phenomenon that most of us suffer from, non stop communication coming at us, some we want some unwanted. It is possible to feel in control, to manage it in a way that it does take over your focus and your day.

Here are 9 clever tips may help you to transform your overburdened inbox from excess to empty without even breaking a sweat!

1. Batch your emails

Batch the emails and process them twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Do not check your email at every opportunity. You don’t run to the post office every time a letter arrives for you; treat your email in the same way. If people want to get in touch with you urgently get them to call you.

2. Turn off email notifications

Take control of the incoming information and don’t let it control you. Turn off notifications in your email settings and only go to your email at allocated times during the day. This will help you to actually get some work done in between looking at emails.

3. Create Reference folders 

Create reference folders so that you can file emails that you want to keep for later reference. Only file emails that you are required to keep for legal purposes or that have important information in them. Avoid filing emails to store contact details,  put contacts in your contact list. and emails that have attachments, file the attachment in the correct folder on your computer and delete the email.

4. Touch emails once

When you process your mail deal with each email once only, Use the Hemphill FAT process, File Act or Trash. If you need to keep the mail for reference, file it into your reference folders. If you have dealt with the email and extracted any information that you need from it, delete it. If you still need to do something with the email, either enter the task into your task list or your calendar, once this has been carried out you can delete the email.

5. Stop subscribing to email newsletters

Most people don’t get a chance to read half of the information that is sent to them weekly, we live in an era of information overload. Stop accepting it get into the habit of going to websites when you have time to read their information, read it on your time. Unsubscribe to any existing newsletters that you don’t read.

6. Be concise in your email text

Be concise with the emails you write.  If you want to organise a meeting with someone suggest time date and location; this will minimise the back and forth emails trying to come up with an agreement.

7. Reduce junk mail,

Make sure your spam filters are set to medium or high. Ask your IT administrator to ensure your firewall and anti virus software is dealing with junk mail. Advise your family and friends that you no longer want to receive email jokes, stories or pictures, ensure that all personal email is sent to a personal email address.

8. Reduce the amount of cc mails you send and receive.

If you are a member of group emails, review the necessity of receiving all of the emails from these groups. Suggest removing yourself from the emails, maybe a group member can send you a synopsis of the activity in the week.

9. Pick up the Phone,

Sometimes it is quicker to pick up the phone than send a number to emails to organise a meeting or explain a concept to someone.

Ciara Conlon is a Leadership and Productivity Coach, Motivational Speaker and author of Productivity for Dummies and Chaos to Control.  Sign up here for a free Goal Setting Masterclass or join her on her Facebook Group LifeDesigners

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Comments (2)

Great advice Ciara – thanks for publishing. Keeping my emails organised definitely helps me to structure my work day and be more productive. The advice you gave throughout your course is in practice every day – and that’s almost 2 years on!

Great to hear you are still benefiting from the workflow coaching Cora, well done for staying with the system.

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