No matter how many other apps like Slack or Microsoft Teams have seemed to relegate email to a secondary tier of business communication, the fact remains it’s still a major part of your workday. It’s something that needs to be managed in addition to, not instead of, these other modes of communicating.
Here are 7 quick ways to slay your inbox at work:
- Do it second – Email doesn’t have to be the first thing you check. In fact, texts, DMs, and Slacks don’t have to be either. Finish off a big to-do before digging into your inbox.
- Stop the interruptions – Turn off email notifications on your phone. If something is urgent, you’ll get a call or a text. Don’t let the ‘ding’ rule your day.
- Reply when it works for you – Some business leaders already do this. If you look closely at their email signature, it might say something like “I answer emails at 11:00am and 3pm”. Setting aside time assures a more measured, thoughtful reply, too.
- Use the 20/80 rule – Twenty percent of your emails are likely the most urgent and important. Address them accordingly and let the other 80% wait till later. Don’t feel like every email carries the same weight. They don’t.
- Unsubscribe – This one speaks for itself. If you haven’t opened a newsletter in the last 3 months, hit the unsubscribe button. If you find you really miss hearing from someone in particular, go back and subscribe. But the odds of that are slim compared to the upside.
- Use separate accounts – Don’t send personal stuff to your work email and vice versa. In fact, if you don’t have a special inbox for newsletters (the ones you actually open) consider that. You’ll feel liberated overnight.
- Use add-ons – Gmail and other email software have plugins and widgets to help manage your inbox, filtering emails by type, sender, and more. If you want to be a real super-user, check out what’s available and take your inbox to the next level.
This might seem like a lot to do, but you owe it to yourself to not let your inbox rule your day. Try a few of them and see how it feels. And within a few weeks, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t do all of this sooner.