5 Smart Ways to Get Control of Your Inbox

EmailsEmail inboxes can take control of your life. This is because it is a reactive medium not a proactive one. Many times a daily to-do list gets sabotaged when email gets opened the first thing in the day. What makes things worse, email is an interruption based technology. When new email comes in, we stop what we are doing, and attend to it even though it is not as important as the task we are currently working on.

Here are 5 ways to get control of your inbox:

1. Schedule specific times during the day that you will read email. This must be after getting the critical things done for that day that are on your list. Turn off the notification of email delivery since it is a tempting distraction.

2. Read every email only once. If you fail to do this, you will be forced to reread it again  when surfing your in box which is a huge waste of time.

3. Take action immediately. Do one of four things:

a. Delete it.
b. File it in another email folder for later reference.
c. Respond to it. (then file or delete it).
d. Set a reminder for future action and place it in another folder.

3. Create email box folders. These can be structured around areas of your business, clients or personal interest. Messages with certain keywords or addresses can be sent to those folders so they can be read when you want. It is also the critical filing system for finding important messages again.

4. Scan the spam box once a week. Relevant messages still get stuck in this folder. Sort it by sender or subject so it is easier to scan.

5. Get less mail. Don’t be afraid to unsubscribe. If you have not read the last three emails sent by a particular source, this is a good indication that there is no immediate value.

Is your email box out of control? What steps have you taken to get it back?