You’re not alone if you have a love/hate relationship with email. As much as we’ve come to rely on it for efficient communication, no one enjoys an overwhelming pileup of messages to read. Thankfully, learning how to manage your email inbox can be quite simple. Let’s start by taking a look at the six inbox management tips listed below.
- First thing’s first
It’s 9am. You sit down at your desk, power up your computer, and you’re greeted with three dozen new emails. What should you do? Should you start at the top and just work your way down? Should you pick up where you left off yesterday? No and no.
The best way to tackle your inbox in the morning is to start by opening emails from a specific set of people. In most cases, this will be your manager or a small list of high-priority business associates. Though it may require some will power, leave all of your other messages unread until you’ve at least taken preliminary action (more on this in #2) on what’s most important.The best way to tackle your inbox in the morning is to start by opening emails from a specific set of people. Click To Tweet
- Sort and schedule like a pro
Do not use your inbox in place of a schedule or to do list. We repeat. Do not use your inbox in place of a schedule or to do list. This widely used practice is one of the main reasons that so many people struggle to control their inboxes.
Instead, think of checking your email as a time to get organized. Start by creating a sorting system that allows you to easily keep track of your emails by either subject matter or priority level. Then, come up with a plan for swiftly tackling new messages. If a response will take you two minutes or less, go ahead and handle it right away. But, if a new email requires more extensive action on your part, move it to its respective folder, and block out time on your calendar to handle it.
- Master the art of the subject line
One of the easiest ways to simplify the sorting process, and in turn, control your inbox, is to use descriptive subject lines. For example, instead of the ambiguous title, “Question,” write, “Question About XYZ Project.” This way, when you get a response, you won’t have to open the email to remember what the exchange was about. Not only will this make it faster to sort your messages, but it will also ensure that the email is easily discoverable if you’re searching for it again later.
- Deal with subscriptions ruthlessly
Another simple way to manage inbox clutter is to simply reduce what’s cluttering it. This starts with the obvious: hitting the “unsubscribe” button. While it might seem faster to archive or delete promotional emails as they come in, it’s better to avoid future distractions altogether by yanking weeds from the root.
As for the subscriptions that you actually want to receive, set up a dedicated email for this very purpose—one that’s safe to check much less frequently. Use this email address for social media notifications, newsletters, online shopping, or in any instance where you expect to receive follow-ups, such as when making a donation or engaging in a political cause.Another simple way to manage inbox clutter is to simply reduce what’s cluttering it. This starts with the obvious: hitting the “unsubscribe” button. Click To Tweet
- Separate church and state
Speaking of reducing distractions, you’ll make your life much easier by using each of your email accounts solely for their intended purposes. While this sounds obvious, many people, especially the self-employed, end up intermingling their communications. The result is a daunting “Unread” number and an unnecessarily long sorting process. Keep things simple by using your work email strictly for work. Don’t share it with your friends or family, and never use it to subscribe to anything, unless it’s truly necessary to do your job.
- Do a weekly cleanse
Even if you do a phenomenal job staying on top of your emails, it’s a great idea to dedicate time each week to dealing with messages that might have slipped through the cracks. Many people like to do this at the end of the week so they can start the following week fresh. Schedule an hour on Friday, or however long you need, to delete, archive, unsubscribe, sort, schedule, or respond to whatever remains in your inbox.
Did we miss any of your go-to inbox management tips? Tweet us @Cydcor and let us know how you manage your email inbox!
We are Cydcor, the recognized leader in outsourced sales and marketing services located in Agoura Hills, California. From our humble beginnings as an independent sales company to garnering a reputation for consistently exceeding client expectations and driving outstanding revenue growth, Cydcor has been helping Fortune 500 and emerging companies achieve their customer acquisition, retention, and business goals since 1994. Cydcor takes pride in the unique combination of in-person sales, call center, and digital marketing services we offer to provide our clients with proven sales and marketing strategies that get results.