“I just sat down to check my email for a minute and then it was 2 hours later”. Sound familiar? I too can get caught up in the email black hole. But there are ways to be in control of your inbox instead of it controlling you! Here are 3 basic things you can do to immediately make your inbox more manageable.
1. Set up email filters.
Most email programs let you filter email into folders. This allows you to see at a glance where your email is coming from and prioritize what you want or need to look at now.
For instance, some of the filters I have set up are for my Professional Organization NAPO, the NAPO Board (specific individuals), my Networking group, Marketing (all the newsletters, offers and events from my marketing sources), Facebook and my General Work email to name a few. This one is well work the time it takes to figure it out and set it up for your email. Then, at a glance, you can see where the email activity is, only look at what you are working on at the moment, or find an email quicker (but that’s another topic!)
I am amazed by how many people just keep getting those same newsletters and coupon offers they really just aren’t interested in. It’s like junk paper mail. If you stop it at the source, it is never an issue to contend with in the first place. A word of caution though. Make sure you are really clicking on a trusted unsubscribing link and not clicking on a link that will only increase your junk mail.
3. Have a purpose when checking email
Knowing why you are checking email can go a long way towards helping gain control of the time you spend on it. If you are really ‘just checking’ and have no set time limit or other priorities waiting, then check away! If you really do ‘just have a minute’, then think about why you are checking email and what you are looking for. Is it a specific message about an event or meeting? Are you waiting for an answer from someone? Are you looking for information about a particular topic? Knowing what you are looking for will direct your attention to one of the folders you set up (see #1) and you are more likely to be focused and stick to you purpose.
Taking control of you Inbox is one of the ways I help my clients be more productive. If you’d like to learn more , please visit my Services page.