I’m going to level with you. Emails are the new voicemail. Delete, delete, delete. Remember the day when you would get multiple voicemail messages and simply power through them by deleting all the unimportant ones? Present day business is done through emails- love it or hate it. Between my work and personal emails, I must get close to 300 messages a day. Do I read them all? – No. I wouldn’t have time to get anything else done.
I used to fantasize about having a great email “system”. A system that would magically put my emails into folders ranked by category and importance. Then I woke up from that dream. What are some good strategies for managing your emails – flagging by importance. It’s easy to select the flagged items to look back at. Delete the spam and put it into the spam folder so it doesn’t reappear in another form. Unsubscribe from those lists that you have no idea how they have your email address.
If these help your inbox appear less cluttered and clear your mind, then by all means put it into practice. Evaluate how email does the following for your workday: is it a big waste of time and has more solicitations to attend an event or a conference or does it contain news that you may or may not have time to read.
How can you make your email work for you? Schedule time on your calendar during your day. This doesn’t have to be written in stone, however, time management experts indicate if you review emails once in the morning and once in the afternoon it will free up your time for other activities. I need to put this into my email practice. It’s difficult when you are waiting for a client to respond and you hear the ping of your inbox. If you turn the sound off it’s certainly less distracting. If folders work for you then use them. It’s a great way to archive information you may need to reference later.
My goal is no longer inbox zero. It’s simply not to have messages returned as Inbox full.