Once you let your inbox get out of control it can seem like you’re trying to chip away at a massive boulder with a disproportionately large sledge hammer that is almost too heavy to lift above your head (see illustration above). Checking unread messages, organizing contacts, and responding to emails can consume an inordinate amount of time, especially if you don’t use the right tools and practices. Here are 4 email management tips that will help you drastically increase business productivity:
Set Aside a Designated “Email Time”
One of the primary reasons why email management is so time-consuming is because we tend to check and respond to emails casually throughout the day. Doing this repetitively interrupts your train of thought and hinders productivity, whether you realize it or not. Set aside 30 minutes to an hour out of each day that you’ll devote to checking, organizing, and answering emails. Let your clients and friends know that you only respond to emails once a day so they won’t be upset by delays. It may also help to turn off desktop notifications so you’re not tempted to open your inbox every time a new message comes in.
Set Up Filters and Folders
You can avoid the hassle of searching through a cluttered inbox by using folders to organize your messages. You can then use filters to make sure incoming messages are automatically deposited to the appropriate folder. For example, you could give each client or project a folder and then set filters to process emails based on the sender or subject matter. You may also want to set up a folder especially for social networking notifications, and give each newsletter subscription its own folder. Start by going through your entire inbox and moving existing messages to your new collection of folders, and then establish rules so that all future messages are automatically organized for you.
Use POP3 Forwarding and Create a Catchall
This tip is particularly useful if you have several email accounts; nothing could be more of hassle than having to log in and out of multiple inboxes every day. Fortunately, you can use one of your inboxes as a “catchall” and automatically forward all messages from your other accounts using POP3 settings. Here are a few resources to help you learn about POP3 forwarding and redirecting:
Actively Flag and Blacklist Spam
One of the fastest ways to let your inbox get out of control is to ignore spam and let it go unabated. A single spam message can turn into an entire page of nonsense that you’ll eventually have to sift through and delete. Use the spam button or blacklist feature in your email client to make sure any message from the same sender will be automatically filtered to the trash or spam folder.
Written byEdward Smithon behalf ofTrustDeedScotland.co.uk, one of Scotland’s leading insolvency firms.