Managing Your Inbox: How To Stop Being a Slave To Your EmailsEston Swaby
Like many of you, I was a slave to my inbox for a very long time. I felt as if I had to be checking my emails constantly, I felt like I could not miss out on any of the ‘great’ information the many newsletters had to give me that day.
I became a slave to my emails and it was affecting my productivity. Times that should have been spent working in my business was spent checking emails and visiting links suggested. Sometimes for more than 1 hour I would be browsing and reading emails. Not to mentioned the many times throughout the day I would login to my email on my phone to see if I had any updates.
I decided I could not live like that. I refused to continue being a slave to my inbox, and you shouldn’t either. That is why I want to share with you 7 productivity tips to help you tame the email monster.
1.Get Another Email Address.
This is one of the things I had to do. On almost every website we visit they are asking for our email address and often are as willing to give it so we can get that free ebook, course or discount. And there is nothing wrong with that. But you need to have a separate email from your personal or work email for stuff like that so you can keep your work and personal emails clean. There are many times I missed important emails because my inbox was fulled of newsletters.
The best Email tip I can give you is to check your inbox only on certain fixed times, and not every time it beeps! Checking emails again and again breaks work-flow and is a serious impediment to productivity.
You want to check in gaps, and for a specific timeframe, for example 30mins and when the time runs out, close everything done. Sometimes you can give or take 5mins sometimes, but not over
We all have that itch to check our emails and so this is one of the most unfollowed rules, but one way to combat this is to turn off your email notifications. Don’t worry if for a week you haven’t gotton it right as initially you will still keep checking your phone from time to time. But slowly, as it stops beeping constantly, the habit will also go away.
3.Use the killer email options
If you use Gmail, they have a option that works wonders to help you sort your emails- Create labels. You can also create new tabs (along the social and promotions tab). Name them whatever works best for you. How this works is that all you have to do is drag and drop your emails to those particular tabs. And It becomes your to-do list.
You can also use labels for project wise filing. That way, you won’t even need to search for a particular email in all of your inbox. You can search it under that label only.
The most important thing is to organize your inbox. It will really help you wade through the clutter!
4.Early morning replies
What many of us do is that we have a habit of checking our emails first thing in the morning (see my article 5 Best Productivity Hacks To Be More Productive In Your Business and look #4 tip to see what to do instead), and that is killing your productivity. If its not checking your social media feed then your checking your emails.
The trick is not to be checking your emails as soon as you wake up but to invest that time working on your most important task. Your morning is a time when you are fresh, your senses are heightened and you are at your peak. Use this beautiful time for your creative work. Work on your book, write a blog post, create a video, take that time to do strategic planning and so on. Or take that time to read a book, exercise and don’t forget to pray regardless of what you have to do.
5.Keep cleaning your email
This was something I wasn’t really good at, I was always leaving emails for another time, or after I read an email to leave it, or to leave junks in my email to where my email reach over 20,000.
You can do this most mundane task while you are traveling or doing nothing productive.
Your goal should be keeping your email clean by deleting spam and less important emails like promotional mails. A less cluttered inbox will always make you feel better. Unsubscribe from emails that you never read.
One of the best way to handle your emails is to delegate your emails to a virtual assistant or a member on your team to handle support matters and only bring to your attention emails you alone can handle.
There are lots of ways you can deal with your email problem, here are a few other ways you can stop being a slave to your email:
- Using the To:, cc: and bcc: fields effectively helps
- Manage Expectations – e.g. sometimes you can respond too quickly
- Follow up with a phone call – used wisely can be very personable and effective
- For effective filing, consider having a ‘follow-up action needed’ system
- Use auto-filing for mails you just want to have access to but don’t need to see