Guest Post by Charles Lee
Reading and responding to emails can become quite overwhelming. Unless you’re a person who doesn’t have a problem with ignoring everyone trying to communicate with you, you’re probably going to want a system to deal with your growing inbox. How do you do it?
Here are some simple tips that can help you reduce the number of emails sitting in your inbox:
Unsubscribe from any unnecessary email lists and notifications. While it is somewhat of a hassle to unsubscribe from unwanted email lists (especially those you never signed up for), take 20 seconds to do it. Don’t tell yourself that you’ll unsubscribe next time. If you find yourself hitting the delete button without reading these updates, that probably means that you don’t need to be on their email list. Unsubscribe and see your inbox number dramatically decrease. Also, be sure to turn off any unnecessary notifications from the various social platforms you participate in, especially if you find yourself checking in throughout the day anyways.
Move longer conversations to calls. I find that moving an email conversation to phone calls is a great alternative to going back and forth. A quick phone call is often much more productive and efficient than 10 emails asking for more clarity.
Give yourself a time limit for responding. Deadlines tend to motivate action. Give yourself a deadline for responding to emails. Also, give your self a mini-deadline for each time you sit to write email. For example, I give my self 30-45 minutes each time I sit to respond to email. I find that I am far more productive when I know there’s an end time.
Find the app. For emails from brands offering deals, see if they have an app for their latest sales and go to it when you want to browse offerings. The truth is that the majority of emails from these brands don’t have items you actually “need”. This will also help you limit your spending!
Create a filing system only for certain kinds of emails. Many of the emails we get are for record keeping or future reference. I tend to only put these kinds of emails in folders (Most email clients allow you to make folders to help you organize your inbox.). I try not to put emails I have to respond to in these folders. Once emails go into these folders, it becomes far more difficult to remember to get to them unless a clear need arises. Therefore, I keep all my emails that I need to respond to in my inbox. This helps me to stay actionable and responsive.
I’ve been able to keep my inbox fairly low or at zero by using these methods. What are some ways that you keep your email inbox to a minimum?