The Overflowing E-mail In-box: 4 Tips for Handling the Chaos
Sometimes it seems like the minute you step away from your desk, you’re guaranteed to be overwhelmed the second you step back. If your in-box is out of control, it’s time to rethink your strategy and reorganize how you handle e-mail!
1.Don’t “Do” E-mail All the Time
If you find yourself stopping and starting tasks all day to deal with e-mail, it can feel like you’re never getting anything done. So set aside specific times dedicated to handling e-mail (say once an hour ... or twice a day, depending on your schedule and e-mail load) and stick with your schedule.
2.Organize Your E-mails
Set up a folder system that works for you. A suggestion to get you started: try a folder system organized by project, by department, or by “actions.” When you get a new e-mail, glance at it to make sure it’s not urgent and if it’s not, pop it in the right folder and review your folders for new entries daily.
Did you just read an e-mail and don’t have time to act on it? Mark it as “Unread.” That way, it’s bold and bright and easy to see. That’ll help you quickly spot the “action required items” in your e-mail box.
4.Stop the E-mail Trail
If a long conversation is going on via e-mail — particularly one with multiple people — sometimes it’s time to step off! E-mail shouldn’t replace face-to-face conversations. The more complicated the issue, the less likely e-mail is the appropriate forum for discussion. E-mail is a hammer — but not everything is a nail!
Develop e-mail taming strategies that work for you and stick with them! No matter which you choose, the most effective way to keep control of your in-box is consistency.We're sorry, but the comment box for this article has been closed. However, you may view the past discussion amongst your peers to see what they had to say ...
“Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got.”
– Janis Joplin
“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.”
– Beverly Sills
“If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.”
– Virginia Woolf
I was once told to only open and check emails 3 x's a day. I decided to use 5 x's a day as 3 didn't seem nearly enough. It really helped me get other things completed. Sometimes I fall into bad habits but this has been a good reminder!
When I read an email and do not have time to respond or deal with it immediately, I mark as follow-up and put a date on it, with a reminder that way I know it will get done
Another suggestion to help with those constant emails: if your email system has a "Pop-up" feature that shows a little previous of each email as soon as it arrives in your inbox - TURN IT OFF! It is way too distracting to ignore, and you're off task as soon as you see it.
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