Most days it feels like our email manages us instead of the other
1. Know That Email Is Not Your Job
Inbox management starts with a mental reframing of how we think about work. Unless you’re one of the brilliant gals actually designing gmail or our outlook inboxes, email is not actually your job. Email is just one — amongst many — tools for communicating, connecting, scheduling, and organizing. Starting with thinking about it as a tool instead of a tether gets you in the right frame of mind to let email work for you.
2. Schedule Email Processing Times
Do you leave your email open on your desktop all day? Give it a week where you change that habit and set distinct times to process and review emails. For example, give yourself from 9-10am and 3-4pm to be in your email box and process, file, and review. This batch processing works better because you can be distraction-free and truly focus on crafting meaningful responses where necessary.
If it gives you the hives to think of missing something that sits in your email for a few hours, consider styling up an out of office response. “I am working on a major project this week and will only be reviewing emails between 9-10 and 3-4. Please feel free to call or text if your note requires a more urgent response.” You’ll be surprised when almost no one takes you up on that.
3. Practice the One Touch Rule
We grab our phones and give a scroll through our emails every morning over coffee on the coach. Read a subject. Open it. Close it. Open it again. Think about a response. Close it again and decide we’ll wait until we get to the office. (Just me?) When I committed to the one touch rule, my email chaos decreased dramatically. Decide that you won’t open an email until you’re ready to respond, file, or process it.
4. Hit Unsubscribe
We get too many emails. Period. The newsletter we signed up for that we read once. The distro list we’ve somehow been added to by an external vendor. Commit to one week of “unsubscribe” effort and any time a note hits your inbox that you know you won’t read, take the extra steps of hunting down its sender and getting off the list. You’ll be amazed by how much clutter is removed from just this marginal effort.
5. Build Your Own Templates
Whether it’s a weekly update to your boss,
6. Stop Making Emails Your To-Do List
I’m wildly guilty of letting my inbox become my to-do list, and
7. Use All Your Available Email Features
Filters, flags, color coding by sender, and folders with rules are all pretty common basics that you’ll want to master to get a handle on your inbox. If you’re not yet maximizing these sorting functions, spend some time learning exactly how they work for your respective email system.
If you’re already working at this level, check out other less-used functions. For example, did you know Outlook has a “clean up” feature? If you’ve been out of your inbox for a while, this is a great little bot that runs through and deletes duplicate emails such as responses on a thread. Don’t worry about losing attachments or missing unique text. It will catch both of those things!
8. Pick Other Tech Tools
Once we stop thinking about email as our only communication tool, its grip on our work day loosens up! There are so many useful platforms, apps, and new ways to connect with our colleagues. Slack and Asana are great project management and communication hubs. BlogIn is a good place to share internal news and post meeting readouts and Zoom gives you a quick way to host a video chat on the go.
Ask yourself: if you were creating this process or project from
Culled from The EveryGirl