A few simple strategies will make processing your email a snap!
Do you feel like email has taken over your life? Well, you’re not alone. In a study by Information Week, over 75% of the people surveyed said that email is essential to their lives—and an additional 15% say they’d rather lose their spouse than give up email! It’s important to remember that email is a tool we can control—one that is meant to improve communication and make our lives easier. To that end, here are four top tips to wrangle that inbox:
- Smarten up your subject line. Put as much descriptive information in the subject line as possible, and your recipient will know what your message is about without having to even open your email. For instance, “Rescheduling Meeting: Orig. 6/1/11 3PM—New 6/1/11 5PM” is a lot better than “Meeting time changed”—the more descriptive, the better.
- Don’t use your inbox as a filing cabinet. Instead, create descriptive folders in your email program—by topic, client, vendor, etc. As you’re finished reading your messages, file them accordingly.
- Filter your messages to save a step. Once you’ve set up some folders, you can then tell your email program to automatically put messages from specific senders or with specific subject lines into the folders where they belong. For instance, if you’re receiving dozens of newsletters, create a “Newsletters” folder, and have your email program filter those emails right into the folder, bypassing your inbox entirely. In your email program, search the help for “rules” or “filters” for more instructions.
- Beware the 4,000-message inbox. Instead of letting emails pile up in your inbox indefinitely, set a limit for how many messages you want to have there at any given time—I recommend no more than 25 or so (once you have more than that, it’s hard to actually see what’s in there). Once your messages start growing past the limit you set, schedule some time to process your email.
Joshua Zerkel, Productivity Strategist, is a Certified Professional Organizer® and the founder of Custom Living Solutions the San Francisco Bay Area’s premier productivity and organizing consulting firm, and he’s the creator of the Profitable Productivity System. Josh specializes in helping entrepreneurs and small businesses find easy ways to get control of their space, information, time, and technology so they can reduce stress and boost their productivity – and their profits. Visit Custom Living Solutions and get instant access to Josh’s exclusive Special Report “The 7 Must-Have Productivity Systems” and schedule your complimentary “Eliminate the Chaos” strategy session!