Five Email Management Tips
For some people, staying on top of their inbox is a breeze, but for others they’re facing literally hundreds of new emails every day and tackling it all can be a nightmare. In fact, you – or someone you know – may be notorious for responding to emails days later, after a decision has already been made. Or they may be the cog in the wheel that’s constantly holding up progress because they simply haven’t had the time to read their email. Those people typically then end up inundated with phone calls and desk drop-bys, which further hinder their ability to manage their inbox.
Sourced from around the Web – and from the TSI offices – here are a few email management tips that are guaranteed to help you master your inbox once and for all.
1. Designate set times of the day to go through your inbox, and turn off the desktop notifications.
Each time you see the little pop-up window flash that you’ve got a new email, it may entice you to stop what you’re doing and respond right away. While you may feel like you’re a multi-tasking pro, it’s more likely that you’re making tasks take longer than they really should. Instead, set up calendar alerts for a few times per day (every 2 hours or so, for about 30 minutes) to go through your inbox and answer emails.
2. Follow the “One Touch” Rule.
This rule should be followed with everything that comes across your desk, not just your email. If you get an email that has an actionable item or requires a response, do it immediately, then file it away into a folder (see the next tip!) for safe keeping, rather than putting it off. If there’s something that is pending action by yourself (such as sending a follow-up email in two days) or someone else, leave it in your inbox, and your inbox will act as a to-do list. By doing this, your inbox will be free from clutter and only contain a) new emails that you have yet to read, and b) emails that are awaiting action either from you or someone else.
3. Keep yourself organized with folders and labels.
Whether you’re using Microsoft Outlook, Gmail, or another service, there are a few ways to keep yourself organized. You can set up rules/filters to automatically file away certain emails without them ever hitting your inbox – a folder/label called “dailies” is great for capturing any newsletters you subscribe to that you like to read regularly, but don’t want clogging up your inbox. You should also create a folder for every subset of your job responsibilities, so that as you send/receive emails pertaining to those aspects, you can file them away. An example would be a Marketing associate whose job includes writing blog posts, handling all social media, and working on print materials. A folder should be created for blog posts, all social media platforms that are used (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), and any vendors – such as designers or printers – that are used for print work. This way, all correspondence related to these tasks are kept in their own separate folders and are easily accessible and searchable.
There is nothing worse than getting bombarded with emails every day – usually sometime around 12pm ET – from every single website you’ve ever visited. There are three ways to handle the onslaught: you can unsubscribe from them manually by clicking the unsubscribe link that is usually found in the footer, you can use a service (we highly recommend unroll.me) that will comb your email account for every subscription you have, list them out for you, and then allow you to click “unsubscribe” in bulk. You can also quasi-unsubscribe by utilizing folders/labels to divert emails that you don’t need to see in your inbox, but you want to keep receiving – such as emails from stores/brands that may contain discounts or coupon codes.
5. Declare Bankruptcy.
Okay, so this is an absolute last-resort. There are times when you may be just so overwhelmed with emails that there’s no way you can get through them. You may find that you’re responding to emails weeks later, or that you’re missing critical information that’s hiding in the digital-mountain of a mess that is your inbox. In these very extreme circumstances, your best bet may be to create a folder called “Critical” (or something similarly important sounding), do a search for emails from VIPs (your boss, accounting, clients, your legal team, etc.), file them away in the Critical folder, and then delete everything else. Once you’ve deleted your inbox, go into the Critical folder and begin enacting the One Touch rule – go through each email, complete any actions that are necessary, communicate with the appropriate individuals, and then enact your new filing system. If there was an email in the mix that you deleted, but was important, you’ll get a follow-up phone call or email within a day or so – and if it wasn’t important, you won’t hear about it and it’s just as good that it’s gone.
For 25 years, Technical Support International (TSI) – a Managed Service Provider (MSP) has been providing our clients with world-class IT support. We’re based just outside of Boston, MA and have been proudly working with clients all over New England. To find out how to make the TSI team a part of your team give us a call at(508) 543-6979 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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