Tame Email Chaos Now

January 17, 2023


email inbox

Let’s face it. Email never, ever stops. How many of us have hundred – or thousands! – of messages, both read and unread, in our inboxes? And how stressed are we as a result? It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are 10 time-tested, easy-to-implement tips to help you manage your email so you become less harried and more productive!  

  1. Turn off notifications. This will prevent the unending distraction of incoming email. Instead, choose a specific time (or times) to check your inbox. It can be every four hours, twice a day, or, if absolutely necessary, once an hour – rather than once every three minutes.

  2. Do, however, read and respond to urgent emails right away. If you’re unable to do so (because you need buy-in from the boss or additional information), file the message in an “Urgent” folder and check back periodically. 

  3. Unsubscribe! Admit it – you don’t read every industry newsletter and marketing message you receive. Create a “Newsletters” filter, move your subscriptions into it, determine what’s no longer relevant, and unsubscribe from those. Keep only the ones you still find useful. 

  4. Create inbox subfolders. These can range from “To Read,” to “Projects,” to “CEO Messages,” to “Personal,” to specific email addresses, so you can more easily find everything you need.

  5. Set up email templates. When you’re tasked with providing instructions to team members or answers to common questions on a regular basis, set up templates you can customize as necessary. It’s a huge timesaver.

  6. Consolidate your inboxes. Stop checking multiple inboxes individually. Instead, have your emails forwarded to say, two inboxes – professional and personal – or whatever makes the most sense for you.

  7. Delete personal messages. (You’ve already moved the time and place of next week’s lunch to your calendar, right?) While you’re at it, delete outdated social media notifications. 

  8. Organizing a meeting? Suggest a date, time and location at the outset to reduce endless email chains. 

  9. If you’re not the appropriate person to handle an email request, forward it to the correct colleague. Done! 

  10. Last, but certainly not least, don’t hesitate to call (gasp!) or text someone if that will resolve an issue more quickly than will multiple emails.

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