If you’re like me, your e-mail inbox can get pretty flipping hectic. Every day, I get a minimum of 25 messages sent to my personal account. Maybe 3 require a response. But I rarely go through them. I say, “I really want to read this person’s blog posts. I’ll do it when I get home.” Then I end up getting home and I’ve received 3 more that I want to read. I plan on reading them before I fall asleep that night and, over night, I get 14 more. Now, it’s easy for things to snowball and, by the end of the week, I would easily have 125 e-mails in my inbox, not including the 2 I keep in there from my dad. But that’s before I came up with my current strategy. So, here are a few tips.
- Purge the inbox completely. Seriously. Select all e-mails. Archive them if they’re not extremely important. And, there you have it. A clear inbox. But that’s just the beginning. Now you must follow my process (or at least take mine with a grain of salt and develop your own).
- Create proactive filters. I get e-mails from J. Crew and Bath & Body Works and all these other companies trying to market their products. I’m guessing you do to. And those e-mails serve a purpose. When it’s time to go shopping, I just may need a discount code for a J. Crew suit and they have some pretty good deals. But I don’t need to see it all the time. So I set up filters that push predetermined e-mails from the inbox straight to the archives. I can always get to them if I need them but, chances are, I’ll never need them.
- Develop a reply time frame and stick to it. I reply to all e-mails within 48 business hours. I try to keep it down to 24 but sometimes I miss the mark. After I respond, I remove it from my inbox and set a reminder with Siri to follow up after a week, if necessary.
- Don’t create unnecessary folders. Just archive. Before I knew how to use GMail, I created folders for everything. Now I don’t really worry about folders because I never look back through the folders. Gmail (and likely other major e-mail providers) allow you to search through all of your e-mails. So, I just archive things when I’m done and, if I ever need them again, I just search. Boom. Simple.
- Wipe your e-mail accounts from your phone from time to time. Right now, my e-mail takes up 81 MB of space on my smartphone. Ok. Now hold on. Let me wipe my G-mail off and re-sign in.. *73 seconds goes by* 11.3 MB gained. While that may not seem like a whole lot on a 64 GB iPhone but every byte helps, especially when you’re trying to download more music every week, right?
- Check your spam folder every two weeks. This has nothing to do with your inbox but I miss so many e-mails just because I forget to look at my spam folder. I still forget it from time to time. *Note to self: create a standing reminder every two weeks to check Spam folder*
Create an e-mail organization process and stick to it. It will make your life more seamless.
Make professional development a priority.