Do you feel like your email inbox is running your life and ruining your productivity? A quick Google search yields hundreds of tips for managing your inbox, but you don’t have time to sift through all of that. So, here are four things that will get you results, right away:
- Set up a simple filing system for emails. Keep it simple so you can easily file emails when you are done with them. It can be as simple as creating a “Done” folder if that will get you to file your emails and get them out of your inbox.
- Get to zero. Carve out two hours right away to get to “inbox zero.” File old emails, delete junk and move emails that need an action to your task list (just drag or flag them) and then file. It will be so easy to maintain your inbox once you start fresh. Schedule windows of time on your calendar to do this again after you have been out or traveling.
- YOU decide when to check your email. Don’t let your email run your life. You decide when you want to check it and keep Outlook closed when it is not time to look at email. This may mean you only check it twice a day (gasp) depending on your role. Turn off notifications and ghosts so you don’t get distracted while you work!
- Commit to “Read, Schedule or Act then File.” When it is time to check your email, commit to either move the email to your task list and set a deadline or respond and then file it immediately. That means you have to decide right after you read it. Do not read an email and say “I’ll deal with that later.” That email will then stay in your inbox and you will read it again and again, wasting your valuable time you could be spending on another task.
Now commit to “inbox zero.” You can do it!
Are you an email management pro? What tips do you use to stay productive?