Reclaim your inbox with simple strategies that help you conquer the deluge and stay organized.
If you have a never-ending barrage of emails, even after you’ve spent hours unsubscribing, blocking and filtering, it’s time to take charge. Reclaim your inbox with these simple strategies to conquer the deluge and stay organized. Our top experts share tips to help you spend less time sorting and deleting email and more time on the videos and sites you really want to view.
Avoid email back-and-forths. For people who are within walking distance in the office or are just a Zoom call away, make it a goal to have face-to-face interactions as much as possible. You’ll collaborate better when you can discuss projects “in person,” and, if you’re still working in an office, you may even get some steps in multiple times a day!
Stop it before it starts. Start by unsubscribing from newsletters you rarely read and turning off notifications from social media posts. You may want to reconsider whether your colleagues are copying you on too many FYI emails. If so, tell them you only need to be contacted when there’s a question, when a decision is made or when the project needs your involvement.
Filter, filter, filter. Set up filters for less-important incoming emails and watch your inbox shrink. A lot. Then, once a day, check those folders for new emails.
Delete or move. Your main inbox should only house emails that await your response. Everything else should be deleted or moved to a folder. Not sure what to delete? Start with those now-ubiquitous smart reply suggestions and all meeting announcements after you’ve accepted. Download photos and documents as soon as they land in your inbox, storing them in appropriate project folders.
Text instead of emailing. Simple questions are quicker to answer by text.
Take charge of your time. It’s a hard habit to break, but there’s no need to respond immediately when you hear or see an email alert. Change your notification settings so emails don’t hijack your attention away from more important tasks.
Type with your voice. If you’re responding to emails on your phone, use the microphone feature and “talk” your response instead of typing it out. (Most phones have a few quirks or limitations with this feature, so practice using it before replying to your CEO.)
Help out a friend. Don’t Reply All unless it’s really necessary. And ask colleagues to do the same.
Simply stop checking. If you keep your email window open, you’ll check it constantly. Instead, set aside time blocks and only open email at key points during the day (say, upon arrival, lunch, midafternoon and departure), respond as needed, then close email until your next scheduled reading time. If something’s urgent, you’ll surely get a call or text if you’re needed.
Send less. Receive less. It’s a win-win for everyone.