10 Clever Tips for Managing Your Email
For the past couple of months, I’ve been distraught with email stress. I used to be that person who was always on top of Gmail, firing off replies in a timely manner, with my inbox constantly at zero. However, emails have become increasingly harder for me to deal with, and I’m consistently overwhelmed by the growing number I receive on a daily basis. I keep trying, but I just can’t seem to get on top of it! I’m not sure what I’m doing differently. Am I receiving more emails than I did in the past, or has my work ethic changed? Whatever the reason for the shift, I’ve been implementing ways to better manage my email. I've made the following changes to my system and so far it's going well! If you’re experiencing the same conundrum, here are 10 clever tips that will help you get control of your email situation.
At least once a month, I go to Unroll.me to unsubscribe from countless unnecessary promotional emails. Many times I’m not really sure how I even was signed up in the first place, so there is no need to be receiving those emails. If you’re on a budget, unsubscribing from shopping websites is a also great way to ensure that you don’t overspend.
Set up a system of organization in your inbox. Create folders—for example, I have an address folder where I keep all addresses and important names and numbers. After you’ve addressed an email, file it in the respective folder. Other folder titles I have include holiday, travel, food, and personal.
Sometimes I feel like I could spend my entire day answering emails, so that’s why I’ve scheduled a time in my days to attend to email responses. It’s an hour or 90 minutes in the middle of my day, during lunch, and I only let myself attend to emails at this time. Schedule a time to answer emails so you won’t end up being distracted by responding throughout the day.
Don’t leave your email app open on your computer while you’re trying to do other things. You’ll end up wasting too much time replying to emails or reading promotions that only waste your time. On weekends, turn off the email function of your phone so you don’t get overwhelmed by work-related emails.
It’s clear that clutter hinders us from reaching our full potential, so if you’re trying to declutter your apartment, apply the same philosophy to your inbox. Delete clutter. Get rid of all those emails that mean nothing to you!
If you find yourself always sending the same emails over and over again, create templates so you can quickly respond without having to write an entirely new email. For example, I am invited to a lot of events, so I have an RSVP yes and an RSVP no template. When I’m invited to a party, I can easily respond using the correct template.
Write short, concise emails, and only send emails when it is absolutely necessary. The less you email, the fewer emails you will receive, so keep your correspondence to a minimum.
Pay attention to the emails that you send. If you’re sending the same email over and over again, but don’t have a template set up for it, copy and paste the message from one that you have already sent.
Most people respond to an email in 48 hours or less. The quicker you respond to an email, the less of a burden it will weigh on you. Act as soon as possible. Reply, address, or delete an email and then move on.
Like everything in life, managing your inbox is subjective. If you’ve tried answering emails at one time during the day and found that it doesn’t work for you, don’t do it again. Apply these tips and then figure out what your personal email style is. Follow this to best manage your inbox’s influx.
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What's your secret for managing too many emails?