My inbox is not looking its best.
I have 36 in my personal/ business box and before I put these tips I’m about to share with you into practice last week, I had 57 (I’m now down to about 12 – 15) in my work box.
They’re all read – I marvel at the restraint some people show in not reading emails immediately. Or maybe I’m just insanely curious.
So this is not a post about how to empty out your inbox and keep it that way. That’s what Conquer your email is for.
It’s just that I seem to have a lot in my boxes (relative to my normal 10 – 15 comfort level), some colleagues were also discussing this with me last week (the one person was saying he could seriously just process email the entire day and never get any “real work” done… and STILL not get through it all) and one of my clients also has some email goals.
Here’s the quick-fix emergency inbox fix… just so you can breathe again:
1. Disable all the social media notifications
If you haven’t already turned off all the notifications, take a minute or two to go into each of your social media accounts – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. – and turn off the email notifications.
Most things aren’t urgent and you’ll be on the respective site later today or in a few days’ time anyway.
2. Check on conversations
Click the Subject/ Conversation tab on the email menu bar. Your inbox is now filtered by conversation.
If you’ve been talking to the same person and the conversation’s gone back and forth, there may be some older emails you can quickly delete. Oftentimes when I do this step (it’s not my preferred default way of organising my inbox), I can delete about 4 – 6 emails very quickly. Everybit helps.
3. Do you really need to answer the email?
Click the date tab on the email menu bar once or twice so that the oldest emails appear on the top.
Look through the oldest messages. Do you really need to answer them?
If you can see that those people aren’t waiting for a reply, just delete. If this feels too drastic for you, set your timer for 10 minutes and write SHORT replies to as many people as possible.
4. Copy down information quickly
I’m very guilty of this myself. I sometimes keep emails because I need to store the information somewhere else. E.g write a friend’s new address on an envelope to send off something.
If you need to save addresses, websites, telephone numbers, recipes (another of my guilty email mistakes!), copy them to your contacts/ addresses or with my recipes, copy and paste into a Word document and delete the email.
5. Add items to your master to-do list
Some of us see our email inbox as our master lists. Rather drag to a task, or if you’re old school like me, write it onto your proper master to-do list. E.g. I need to go into my kids’ blog and change the footer. It will take more than 2 minutes so I should add it to my list and get to it. Instead it’s in my inbox.
Hope this helps!
What are your favourite tips to empty out your email?
ps, here’s the link to buy Conquer your email for those of you who have a chronic problem with your email