The manner in which you approach your email matters a great deal. It is in your power to make the time you spend looking at email and sending responses as effective as possible. If you have to wad through electronic clutter, you will face email to be a daily chore that sabotages your productivity. In fact, email has the potential to become a major time-waster. Follow these email management tips and you will enjoy a tidy, easy-to-access and easily controlled email inbox in which important messages are never lost.
The Email Mantra: Less is More
Do not hesitate to delete messages you are sure you will never go back to. Delete junk mail and ads. Reduce the clutter and it will make it that much easier to retrieve the messages you need. If you find a spam emailer or a group that simply sends ads, sort your inbox based on the sender or “from” and delete all of the messages associated with that group. It will also help to sort your inbox based on the reverse date so you can delete those old messages that no longer matter. Start removing your email address from the email lists you no longer read.
Respond Right Away
It is a mistake to read email messages and plan on responding at a future date. Take the little bit of time necessary to respond immediately after reading the message so it does not hang over your head. This approach will also reduce the chances you forget to respond altogether.
Distinguish Emails From Tasks
If a message details a task that must be performed, move it to the task folder. This way, tasks will be separated from regular communications. Appointments should be on the calendar away from everything else. Once organized, your email will prove that much more helpful and easy to navigate.
The Power of Delegation
If another person is to act based on the message sent in the email, send it to that person without delay. Add a message and the email will be out of your inbox for good. If you think it is wise to follow-up, move it to a separate folder for follow-up action.
Separate Business Email From Personal Email
Work-related and other professional email inboxes should not be cluttered with personal email like subscriptions, newsletters, messages from family and friends and so on. Use two distinct accounts for each type of email so they do not get in the way of one another, cause confusion and make it that much more difficult to find the information you need.