How many minutes or hours do you use up just to read, answer, and sort emails on a daily basis? How often do you stop your activities every day just to manage your personal or work inbox?
For many people, email is already a common way of life. Jobs that require constant communication with customers, clients, managers, and colleagues consider email as a faster and more efficient means compared to attending meetings or picking up that phone. But, this convenience of emails doesn’t mean that they don’t affect your overall productivity.
With the onslaught of emails comes the overwhelming feeling of not getting everything read and checked. If you are having a difficult time managing your inbox, now might be the perfect time to follow a routine to organize your inbox and keep it this way.
Make Email Organization a Daily Task
Make managing your email a regular part of your routine, such as a coffee break, lunch, revenue report, or daily sales meeting. This is something you should include in your schedule and not just something you should squeeze in just when time is running out.
Stick with Color Coding and Flexible Filing System
The online filing system you use is composed of folders you make in your email system. This can be with the use of colors to distinguish the most important emails to the least important ones or emails that come from specific persons. No matter what colors you choose, it must be something that works for you.
Keep Email Files Tidy and Clean
Schedule a review of files every week or every month. Eliminate those you no longer need. Consolidate files and move them to their respective folders.
Say No to Panic-Checking
Checking your inbox every 5 minutes or so is counterproductive. Instead, try to set a timer or use the clock to serve as your reminder to check your inbox every 30 minutes. It will keep your incoming work in proper order, and at the same time, it lets you complete other tasks at hand.
Checking Your Inbox Should be the First and Last Thing You Do Every Day
Emptying your inbox should be the first and last task you do for the day. This way, you can clear the path for other activities you have. This will also help you prepare your to-do list for the next day and gives you that sense of achievement at both ends of your day.
Use the FAST System
After reading the email, decide if you will File it, Assign it, Store, or Scan it for future reference, or if you can already Trash it.
Filter the Spam
For paperwork that arrives by email, you can set your junk or spam email filter to eliminate mass and unsolicited emails from marketers, advertisers, and other similar time-wasters.
Don’t Give Out Your Work Email Address to Friends
Even though you love to look at those cute photos of your friend’s baby daughter, it is best to refrain from giving your work email to them. When you do so, your email will be linked to your friend’s, and sooner or later, your inbox will be filled with unwanted articles on breastfeeding and coupons for diapers and baby clothes.