With hundreds of emails flooding into your email inbox every month, it is easy to see how things can quickly become unmanageable. If this is the situation that you are currently in, you know that allowing your email inbox to pile up can be a dangerous and costly habit to have. When you don’t respond to your emails within a timely manner, business opportunities can be missed and relationships can be strained.
When our clients find themselves in this situation, we recommend that they fix it by scheduling time that they can dedicate to sorting and responding to their emails. In most cases it is necessary to schedule several blocks of time over a few days to work through all of the emails. For many it works best to do this in 30 minute purging sessions to keep focused on the project.
Determine the time frame that fits in your schedule and use the system below to efficiently purge through your email inbox.
1. Block out small chunks of time in your schedule that can be used to purge through your email Inbox
2. Depending on the email program you use, how you can sort or search will vary. For example, if you can sort emails by sender, this can be a quick way to address emails quickly based on who they are from. You can also search for emails from a specific person and deal with those at once.
3. Scan each email and do one of the following:
If the email can be dealt with in less than one minute, send a response immediately. If the email represents a project or task that needs to be completed, transfer the action to your task list. Doing this will help you to remember to complete the task and allow you to archive or delete the email.
If the email requires no action, but needs be retained for your records, it should be moved to the proper subfolder
Delete the email if no further action is needed and the information does not need to be retained for your records.
Organizing Your Email
Once you have reduced the number of emails in your email inbox, implement these tips to ensure that your inbox stays organized.
Check to make sure that all of the folders that you have created are still active. If you have folders listed that you no longer need to access, create a folder titled “Archived” and move the inactive folders to that location. Doing this will allow you to access the file at a later date and clear up space for your active email folders.
Set your incoming email to be automatically moved to a subfolder
For some emails, setting automation rules to automatically move them to designated subfolders based upon the sender’s email address or subject line will help keep your inbox less cluttered. This tool is especially effective for eliminating clutter caused by subscriptions because the emails are automatically sent to a folder instead of stacking up in your email inbox.
You may want to set a reminder daily or weekly to go check these subfolders so you don’t miss valuable information.
Create a separate email account
Create a separate email account that you can use when signing up for online offers or for social networking notifications. Doing this will help to eliminate unwanted spam and “junk” mail in your business email inbox.
Once a week, quickly scan through your spam box to make sure that you do not need to read any of the emails that have been sent there. If an email you want was accidently sent to spam, move the email to your inbox and, depending on how your email program is set up, mark the sender as a “safe sender.” Once you have removed the emails that you want, empty or delete your spam folder.
Properly managing your inbox is essential for business success. Set aside time to purge, and use this system to respond and organize your email inbox. Set a goal, make a date, then reward yourself for following through.