Habits and Tips To Help You Keep Your Email Box Under Control

Habits and Tips To Help You Keep Your Email Box Under Control

One of the biggest time-wasters at your job could be your email. In almost every industry, email is a necessity that takes up a good chunk of the day. If you want to be more efficient at your job, you need to know a few tricks for keeping up with your email inbox. Try out some of these tips and see how much time you can save yourself throughout the work week.

Pick a Detox Day

Every so often, you should have an email detox. Spend two hours or however long it takes to go through your inbox. Delete anything you don't need and file away all of your important emails. As you do this, leave nothing unresolved.

Check Your Email at Set Times

If you constantly check your email, you could be operating inefficiently. Rather than click on an email every time you get a notification, have a few set time slots for checking your email. Whether you choose to check your email six times a day or twice a day, stick to the schedule.

Failing to do this means you may be starting up and stopping tasks throughout the day. If you're not fully focused on the task at hand, you're wasting time. You could also end up forgetting to address emails or rushing to type up a poorly formulated response.

Know That It's not a To-Do List

Do you use your emails as reminders to accomplish certain tasks? While saving an email might remind you to do something, this habit could cause problems. For one, your inbox might be cluttered and chaotic. You probably have emails from months ago that no longer have any reason to be in your inbox.

Secondly, you only get your reminder when you look at your inbox. You might not remember to make an important phone call until the end of the day when you finally check your inbox. You can avoid this issue by adding things to your to-do list as you encounter them. Although it takes a few minutes out of your day, having a running to-do list improves productivity.

Minimize Junk

It takes time to sift through junk email. When you first open up your email for the day, scroll through everything and look for spam or junk. Delete it immediately and subscribe if you have the option to do so. Just make sure you don't unsubscribe from anything that has professional value.

If your professional email is linked to your personal email, you could have serious issues with spam. Never use your work email to sign up for subscriptions or to buy products. If you don't have another email account, create one and use it purely for purchases, social media, and anything else.

Make a Filing System

If you don't already have a filing system for your email, you probably have a messy inbox. The best way to be organized is to file all of your emails in folders. When you have some free time, make multiple folders for your inbox. Go through every email and file it accordingly. Then, use your filing system every time you check your email.

Creating a filing system can be difficult. If you struggle to categorize your emails, you can reach out to a coworker or colleague. Ask them how they organize their inbox. With a quick internet search, you might also find some worthy suggestions.

Limit Your Reply Times

For the most part, you should limit your email responses to three minutes. Make these emails a priority and respond to them as soon as you read them. If an email warrants a longer response or needs some thought, add the email response to your to-do list.

This tip keeps you from procrastinating. If there's an issue you don't want to address, you may put it off until the problem becomes even larger. By sticking to this rule, you can limit procrastination.

Have Reading Time

Some emails might not require any action other than actually reading. Unfortunately, people often forget about these emails and never read the information. By skipping out on these emails, you're passing up an opportunity for career growth. To make the most of all your industry news and related materials, you should pick one or two times each week to read through all of your informative emails.

As you read your articles, take notes. You never know when you can bring up a topic at a work meeting, and writing down notes keeps the information fresh in your mind. Write down the sources of your notes for future reference.

Clearly Label Emails

In addition to using folders to organize your emails, you should also use labels to explain the type of response or purpose of the email. For instance, you might have a few emails that require you to read them. You could mark these emails as "reading." For any emails that require immediate action, you can add the "urgent" label. This isn't something that will come naturally, but you can train yourself to do it. Once you get into the habit of labeling your email, you will have a less chaotic work day.

Be Disciplined

It's not enough to follow the above tips once in a while. If you don't take a disciplined approach, you won't be as efficient as possible. When you set a time to go through your email, do just that. Ignore any non-urgent phone calls, and don't pick up your phone. Always properly categorize and label your inbox, and don't allow any excuses for not doing so.

Keep Your Inbox Closed

If it's not your set time to check your email, don't open the inbox. You could spend your entire day trying to keep up with your inbox, but you won't be very effective at your other duties. If you need to send an email, add it to your to-do list unless it's urgent.

These tips alone won't keep you from having an influx of emails, but they will keep you organized and save you time. In the end, your efforts could put you next in line for a promotion.

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