E-Mails can be a huge distraction in our everyday lives and swallow a significant amount of time we could implement in many more efficient ways. Depending on your business and the amount of accounts you are running, the number of incoming e-mails can be hundreds per day (not including the nuisance of spam). Subscriptions, newsletters, project related e-mails, reminders and: the non-escapable-influx of discounted offers (I spare you the details of those).
Although you probably receive all these e-mails for a reason, it makes or breaks your day if you don’t make sure to manage your inbox accordingly and get a little organised in the process. You will most likely agree that a newsletter is located slightly lower on the ‘priority scale’ when you have client demands to respond to, right?
A few ideas on how to get on top of daily e-mail floods:
- Set a time on when to check your e-mails in order to avoid distraction, i.e. morning, lunch, afternoon and end of the day. This is a smart strategy helping you to manage more efficiently and to stay focused on your tasks at hand/projects.
- Create e-mail folders and subfolders for each theme, client or project. This helps you to organise and label e-mails accordingly. Yes, we love colour-coding as well!
- Create rules! Rules and filters ensure that non-urgent or non-work-related e-mails (newsletters, private mails) are immediately moved into appropriate folders for later review. You could also create a folder called ‘work to be done’ and add clients to the rule – so everything coming in from your clients travels automatically into the most important folder of the day.
- There is also the option of creating folders like ‘pending’, ‘to be reviewed’ or ‘client work’ in order to collect messages for later review and/or to prioritise accordingly. This might be for control freaks like myself who prefer screening everything before it is ‘moved’ on their interface.
- If you do not like to pre-file messages, but would rather keep them in your inbox for the day/week, you could flag urgent e-mails so they’re easy to find.
- Move completed items out of your inbox at the end of the day and file accordingly. This does not only keep you well organised, but also gives a sense of accomplishment – at least ‘til the next morning!
Organising your inbox does not have to take much time, and choices are endless – so how do YOU organise your inbox?