By: TSP Blog | @TSProckstars
Nothing is worse than opening the ever-dreaded email inbox after a weekend away or a night at home. Many of us habitually check that mailbox before or after office hours to avoid inbox overload. In fact, research shows that U.S. workers spend almost 6.3 hours per day checking their inbox. So many emails come through – nearly 205 billion emails are sent every day – that it can seem nearly impossible to read every message (let alone respond).
If you’ve ever wanted to know how to get that all-elusive Inbox Zero, check out five of our top tips for keeping your email clean and orderly.
- FIRST IN, FIRST OUT
Generally, we tend to read things from top to bottom – it’s a natural instinct – but when it comes to email, it may be better to read from bottom to top. Even if you are a day or two late, reading the older emails first is the best way to keep up correspondence and ensure that you aren’t too late to reply. When using this method, just be sure to read the entire email chain before sending out a reply, especially if you aren’t the only one in the conversation!
- SET A SYSTEM
Having a system in place is one of the best way to keep organized, especially when it comes to emails. Many people make their inbox from yesterday their to-do list for the day ahead – this can be extremely helpful when planning for each upcoming deadline or project. Another great process to put in place is reviewing your inbox at the end of every week. With the sometimes unexpected undertakings or additional queries, some emails can get pushed to the side for more pertinent tasks, but it is important to make sure all of your emails don’t go unanswered for too long.
- FILE FOLDERS
Filing already handled emails into folders is a great way to keep your inbox minimal, while keeping prioritization top of mind. You may have various accounts or contacts that you can create folders for in your inbox depending on your workplace. Our top tip for filing is to make sure you keep unchecked emails in your inbox and only move an email into a folder once you’ve replied or handled the inquiry. Another trick of the trade is to create rules for certain receivables, which will auto-file newsletters or subscriptions straight into a folder upon receipt. This helps keep your inbox light and makes opening up your dreaded email not so scary.
- KEEP FOCUS
If you’re using a work email for any email subscription services, your inbox is probably bogged down with unnecessary newsletters or sale pitches. The secret to keeping these emails at bay? Create a personal email account for all things personal, so that whenever a store asks for your email, you aren’t giving them your work account. If you happen to be subscribed to anything that you shouldn’t be (or no longer choose to be), check out unroll.me – the perfect app for unsubscribing to group email lists.
When using your phone to catch up on missed messages, be sure you’re not accidentally misplacing the read message or forgetting to respond once you’ve made it back to your computer. We’re all destined to check our email on our mobile devices, but it is important that we manage it correctly because even with all the tips and tricks in the world, it can still be difficult to maintain a tidy inbox. If you need a little extra help on the mobile side, check out these top app recommendations for managing email on your a cell phone or tablet.
Whether or not you’re an excellent inbox keeper or completely in chaos, adopting some new techniques for management is always a best practice. From helpful apps to creating a set system, our tips are sure to do the trick in keeping your inbox (and your brain) clear and focused.