Email has become one of the most time-consuming tasks of the day for many people. Managing email is also one of the most necessary components of the day for many business owners who use it for everything from ordering product and supplies to marketing their business. With all of that use, email can quickly take over the day – do this, do that, I need that, send me this, order that. The task of managing emails can eat into time that could, and sometimes should, be spent doing other tasks. Let’s take a look at a few things you can do to help manage that runaway inbox.
Don’t Mix Personal And Business– If you use one email account for all of your email, both personal and business related, you are setting yourself up for a possible email disaster. Keep the two separate if at all possible. Of course, you might have used a business email account to send a quick email to a family member or friend (and vice-versa), but do try to limit business email account use to business emails. You will be getting plenty of email to your business account without needing to sift through personal email as well. At the very least, if you do use only one email account for everything, make sure you are organized enough to keep them separate – bringing us to the next point.
Get Your Email Organized – If you don’t know how to do that, do a quick internet search for how to set up filters and/or folders for the email provider you use. You can create rules that will organize your email as it comes in by using specific senders, keywords, topics, etc. You may just want to set up folders in which to send emails after you have read them in your inbox. Most email programs will allow you to set up unlimited folders where you can store emails indefinitely or until you need them.
Don’t Be Afraid Of The Delete Button – The first time you log in to your email account each day, quickly scan the emails that have come in since the last time you checked and hit the delete button on the obvious ones that you will never read. Most email accounts send deleted emails to another folder usually called “Trash”. They will stay there until you delete them from the trash folder unless you have specified in your email settings for the trash folder to delete anything over a certain number of days old. At least you can be sure that anything you accidentally delete will be there for a few days and can be retrieved from the trash folder easily. Make sure you go through the folders you have set up once in awhile (monthly is a good rule of thumb) and hit the delete button on emails pertaining to tasks you have taken care of.
Pick A Time And Stick To It – If you check your email at all hours of the day, it can get overwhelming. There are too many other tasks you need to focus on to be bogged down with email all day long. Are you an early bird? Check your email first thing in the morning. Not an early bird? Pick another time of the day to dig into your inbox, but try to do your email check(s) at the same time every day. Be consistent, and get yourself into a routine.
Don’t Put It Off – Always check your email on a daily basis, and handle tasks from those emails as soon you can and then file or delete those emails. It can be tempting to take a quick look at an email asking for something and then close your inbox without completing that task while thinking you can come back to it later. Sometimes it might be necessary to do that, but try to complete the email request or task as soon as you open the email if you can. If you have to come back to an email at a later time, use the flagging system that is included with all email programs to mark the email as one that still needs attention.