How much time do you think you spend clearing junk mail and other distractions from your inbox every week? It isn’t only clicking delete over and over again that is time consuming, the mental energy and cumulative distractions of this task also take their toll. So what can you learn from this? How can you develop better emailing habits? It’s about dedicating time, allocating space and training ourselves to not be slaves to our emails. Below you’ll find some easy to follow tips to detox your inbox so that you can gain more clarity and extra time to help your business grow and thrive.
1. Time management
The key to not being distracted by email is to dedicate specific time to managing it. Simply diarise times each day to replying, deleting and sending emails and then stick to it. Perhaps allocate the first 30mins of the day, an hour after lunch and last 30mins of the day. Whatever time and length you choose is fine, just don’t allow yourself to break the habit.
2. Using folders
Using email folders divides opinion. Some experts say it’s actually less helpful and productive whereas others claim it promotes clarity. The answer is to limit the amount of folders you create and make them very specific. Maybe create one for urgent emails, one for those needing a reply but not immediately and an ‘Unsubscribe’ folder.
In your ‘Unsubscribe’ folder drop any emails that you would normally automatically ignore or delete; deleting emails is also a distraction so let’s get rid of as many as possible for good. Once you’ve added a few days worth, go into the folder and individually unsubscribe from the mailing lists. Once you’ve done this, go back to your main inbox and search for these companies and delete all previous emails still floating around. You may find yourself mass deleting thousands of unwanted emails.
3. Delete the mundane
Email storage space is often limited, so why keep mundane emails? If your colleagues (or friends) send you an email that doesn’t need a reply, is just for fun, or has been dealt with but doesn’t need to be on record, delete it! Too many businesses keep so many unwanted, useless emails that are just cluttering up inboxes and depleting space resources.
4. Mark as unread
When you read your emails, go through them one-by-one and those with a short response should be replied to immediately and those that need a little more thought and time use the ‘Mark As Unread’ facility and come back to them later.
5. Turn notifications off
This is probably the hardest habit to break, not checking your phone, or leaving the task in hand to check an email that’s just popped up in the corner of your screen! Turn off all email ‘bings’ on your phone and turn off your desktop notification bar. You can relax in the knowledge that you have allocated the time to check and reply to correspondence so nothing will get missed. Very few emails are actually time sensitive and can be dealt with in the fullness of time.
6. Archive the necessary
So what about those emails you need to keep on record? Archive them! Archiving important emails takes just a few clicks and frees up masses of inbox space. You can store your archived emails on your computer, or even better, on your cloud storage, and reference them at anytime whilst gaining back valuable email space.
7. Recognise procrastination when you see it.
A great deal of the toxic influence of being an email slave is that it is a great and legitimate seeming way to procrastinate. There will always be an endless and never-ending supply of email coming your way, it is up to you to decide whether or not to be ‘busy’ attending to the distractions they pose or be effective in your job.
So what are you waiting for? Kick-start your inbox detox now and enjoy the time it will free up in your daily email routine!
Looking to increase your productivity even further? Check out our 10 digital tools to help you do just that!