February 5th, 2018
As one writer has said “An inbox is as personal a space as an underwear drawer — we all have one and are all embarrassed by both its organization and contents.” Start 2018 off by applying some simple and effective methods to maintaining an organized, and less overwhelming (or embarrassing!) inbox.
A clean and well-sorted inbox can save you valuable time and is overall less overwhelming and stressful. Motivational speaker Debbie Mayo-Smith discusses the Inbox as a filing cabinet; folders placed haphazardly in the cabinet defeat the purpose. Utilize the organizational structure provided by your email service and start by sorting your emails into Folders, and reduce the pile-up.
Set up a daily time, preferably twice a day dedicated to emails, sorting and organization. Take this time to focus solely on filtering your emails into folders and assigning them levels of urgency. Utilize this opportunity to reply to your most time-sensitive emails.
Allow this time to go uninterrupted and turn on the New Email notification if you have one, to limit distraction. Continue to scan through emails through out the day, so as not to miss last minute or urgent messages.
One organizer suggests using the “Four D’s” when processing emails. Start at the top and assess each message according to the following: 1. Delete it, 2. Do It, 3. Delegate it, 4. Defer it. This will give you a much needed start on what can seem to be an otherwise overwhelming task.
According to the organizer, 50% of daily emails can be deleted, 30% delegated or completed in minutes and 20% deferred to be completed later.
Utilize your email system to its fullest abilities. Take a few hours out of your day to explore your carriers’ options and really get to know its capabilities. Most email systems offer add-in programs designed to simplify to manage email organization.
Filtering emails is one of the easiest ways to promote and maintain sorting and upkeep. Filter however it works best for your needs; based on contacts, categories or subject lines and as messages come in, they automatically relegate to their designated filter folder.
Emptying your Trash folder daily, creating To-Do and Follow-Up Folders, and archiving important messages can save you mountains of time. Employ the use of auto-replies to do some of the response work for you.
With a small amount of time daily, take back control of your Inbox and improve your response time, reduce your stress levels and keep up with due dates and important notifications.