4 Tips to Better Manage Your Email Inbox
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More than one-quarter of a worker's day on average is spent answering and reading emails - email is the second-most time-consuming activity for workers, next to "role-specific tasks."
... to read and respond to email. Don’t leave your email program open all day long. Alerts from incoming messages can interrupt your work flow. Instead, schedule specific blocks of time throughout the day for checking your email.
You might even try marking your calendar and setting your availability to “busy.” If necessary, turn off your cellphone and shut your office door to prevent interruptions.
Newsletters and advertisements can overwhelm your inbox and bury important messages. Clean out the clutter.
Unsubscribe from receiving messages from specific senders if you no longer want to receive their missives or don't have the time to read them.
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To avoid filling the email box of staff members, only CC the relevant parties. Ask your team to respond to you individually instead of using the reply-to-all button.
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think of every email you get as either something you need to take action on, track, or refer to later.
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There’s no “definitive” system. The best framework is the one that works for you. Ideally, it should model your work style, supporting the way you work. Bonus points if it’s low-maintenance, fast to set up, and adaptable as your work changes.
Some people like to use folders with specific actions (do, delegate, reply), while others prefer the deadline-driven approach (today, tomorrow, next week).
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E-mail is not a substitute for conversations.
Avoid asking open-ended questions and save yourself from the “boomerang effect” (that’s when you invite more email into your inbox than you intended, as a result of having sent out an email in the first place). Be concise in your message and specify the TL;DR and/or requested action upfront.
The blockage is not email itself, but where all these messages should ultimately go, which requires setting up the right downstream systems.
As you process each message, give yourself five (and only five) options: responding directly or sending the item into whatever system you’re using to manage one of these four buckets.
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Create the following 2 folders:
Unsubscribe from every list that doesn’t offer solid value for your business.
Interrupting a task with notifications leads to a loss of concentration and a decline in productivity levels.
Feel free to set up an autoresponder re-directing all urgent matters to your phone.
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Instead of relying on a tool with all the bells and whistles, find out where you’re struggling and what’s essential for you.
For example, if scheduling is taking you away from product development, then you could use a scheduling tool that uses machine learning to automate most of your scheduling needs. If you’re wasting too much time on email, then consider using a tool to help tame your inbox.
Time management is only useful when you’re aware of your limitations and don't let the system dictate your entire life.
In other words, when you don’t tread lightly (especially at first), time management can add more stress to your life.
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Even though email messaging has provided us with better communication, we have a hard time managing every message that enters our inbox.
Finding better ways to organize your inbox will benefi...
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.
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... during the day can be an effective way to keep your inbox at manageable levels.
However, the constant interruption and distraction that comes from it can dramatically lower your productivity, and disrupt your ability to enter a state of flow when working on high value projects.
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This kind of daydreaming is the genesis of invention and fosters passion for one’s work.
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