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Many people decry how awful email is. They feel that messages keep on appearing in their inbox as if they have no control over them.
The first step to a controllable inbox is to slow down the messages.
Emails from unknown people are like strangers who show up at your office without an appointment. If you pay attention to them, you have to break your commitment to others.
Consider keeping your email notifications off. You will not forget about your inbox.
Sales pitches are personal emails without unsubscribe links. But if you don't respond, you can often get more email from them.
Set up text replacements. For example:
noint = Not interested but thanks; please remove.
nove - I'm sorry; I have a bunch of initiatives and don't have time for a call right now. Maybe in a few months.
nocant = I'm sorry; I've already made commitments I'd have to break if I tried to make a call or meeting work right now.
These won't work everywhere but are a good starting point that can be edited.
Once you've got the flow of email reduced to messages that matter, it's time to clear the non-urgent out of your inbox.
Once this is done, only the deeply urgent things are left.
Actions you might take while processing:
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Trying to locate an email you want to respond to can be very time-consuming.
Mark the email you want to respond to later as "unread." It is easier to find between all your other messages.
Getting out of the habit of checking email frequently can be tough.
Check and respond to emails twice a day at a specific time. The rest of the day you can be dedicated to your work and not lose focus because of incoming messages.
Put your mind at ease by burying all the triggers that hijack your attention and keep you away from concentrating on your work.