Some days I open my email and want to put my head down on the table and sob uncontrollably. Hundreds of unread mails and I don’t even know where to start. I’ve got into a bad habit of reading them all; marking the ones I want to reply to as “unread” and hoping I’ll get back to them later. I never do.
On other days I find myself spending around 2 hours in my inbox and getting no work done. There are newsletters I never read, social media notifications that just clog everything up, event notification reminders, group messages… it never ends!
One of my friends is a mom and was telling me about her little one’s school has an email group. Teachers now communicate via email, school reminders flood in and she just doesn’t know how to cope! We’ve touched on dealing with the inbox beast on Tech Girl before but since then I’ve cultivated a few more tips to help when it comes to dealing with your inbox – I thought I’d share the knowledge and hopefully help you out:
Stick to the schedule
Select a time during the day to deal with emails only. I usually give myself from 9:30am to 10am. When the time is up switch off email notifications and exit your inbox so it cannot bug you again. I promise if someone desperately wants to get hold of you they’ll find another way. The world won’t end if you don’t reply STRAIGHT AWAY.
I have certain folders for certain emails. School notifications go to one folder, newsletters another and work emails another. This way I can prioritise what is important and work through them accordingly.
I’ve recently started unsubscribing from various newsletters and notification lists. Not because I don’t find the information useful but only because I’ve realised I just don’t have the time to get through all of them. The other option is to allocate a folder and schedule time once a week to go through all the mailers (Friday afternoons are usually good).
Reply straight away
If you read a mail and it needs a reply: reply. Don’t mark it as unread. Chances are you won’t get back to it.
Delete, delete, delete.
Sometimes, the bravest move is just to delete the stuff that you don’t rank as important. Could you miss something? Yes. Will it be the end of the world? No. If it’s important chances are the person will contact you again so don’t sweat it.
Don’t let your email take over your life. Between looking after the kids and attempting to keep your possible significant other happy while holding down your corporate job, do you really need to be gobbled up by the inbox beast?