The other day I looked at my inbox and there were 700 emails. The HORROR. Hello delete key, you are my very best friend. The worst part is that I know better, I just got lazy. So this is a do as I say, not as I do kind of thing.
Get rid of things you don’t need
Maybe you gave that company your email address because you were signing up for something but do you ever actually read their newsletter? If not, unsubscribe. Unsubscribe from ALL THE THINGS. One more thing that you don’t have to delete. Even if like me, you have a special relationship with the delete key.
No double handling
I know that this is hard. I know we all want to just quickly check our email to find out if there’s anything extra special there. I KNOW. But the trick is if you read an email, decide what needs to be done with it then. Does it need a reply? If it does reply now. If you don’t have time now, flag it for later. Does it need to be filed or deleted? Then do that. But action that email when you read it. So that you aren’t reading it once and then thinking oh I should do something with that! And then later re-reading it and thinking oh I was supposed to do that. On and on. FOREVER. You are wasting valuable time.
If you look at your email on more than one device – phone, computer whatever – then set it up as IMAP, rather than POP. That way when you read something or reply to something on one device, it will be marked as read on your other device. No double handling!
You can set up filters for all kinds of things. If they are from a certain person, or have a certain word in the subject, anything really. And set them up to go into their own folder. The main one I have is that emails from people in my contacts list go into their own folder. I know that pretty much anything urgent will go in there. So I don’t have to check all my email, I can just look to see if that folder has anything in it. But I’ve also used it to filter notifications into their own folder so I can just go in and read them if I need to or delete them.
Clear it out at the end of the day.
Clearly not my strongsuit. But if you get through all of your emails at the end of the day you won’t wake up to the stress of 700 EMAILS. And you don’t have to waste the first half hour of your day sorting through them all. Clean slate. You know, in theory.
Do you have an inbox problem? Do you need a 12 step program? Or are you an email ninja?