How many hours a day do you spend dealing with your inbox?
Email has become a necessary evil of sorts in our business lives.
There are days that my inbox is overflowing with a mesh of important communication from clients, solicitations for the latest online class or program, and a coupon for 25% off my next purchase.
How is the busy entrepreneur supposed to accomplish top priority daily tasks while managing this constant barrage of communication?
There are multiple apps, like Boomerang or Unroll Me, designed to help busy people manage the overflowing inbox. But there are a few quick and easy first steps that don’t involve downloading a thing if you just want to get started.
Set aside one hour
Use this hour to straighten and organize the “pile” of mail that you currently see daily. Just like cleaning out a closet, you will spend a bit of time up front, but the maintenance will be a breeze.
Create folders or labels
Depending on your email provider, you will be able to either create individual folders or labels for emails you will need to reference at a later date. DO NOT take action on any email during your organizing hour. Some people choose to create generic labels like Do It Now, Do It Later, Delegate, etc. I choose to create a kind of filing system. Any emails I may need to reference at a future date will go into the appropriate file where I can search for it if needed. Once the folders are created, you can simply click and drag emails to their appropriate folder or label.
Become very familiar with the delete button.
In your one hour clean out, you will be amazed at how many of your emails can be deleted without a second thought. According to a recent study, only 38% of emails received are important or relevant. That’s a lot of deleting! After the initial cleanout, you will want to go to your deleted email folder, and spend some time unsubscribing from many of the marketing emails you receive (or check out unroll.me). This will make maintaining your inbox much easier in the future.
Put items on a task list or calendar.
Take the next step of putting Do It Now or Do It Later emails on a task list or calendar so that they are not forgotten in their folder. I use Trello for creating task lists (but there are plenty of other task apps out there) and Google Calendar to keep appointments organized. Or you may prefer the good old-fashioned notebook list and paper calendar. Whichever is right for you, make sure your Do It emails actually get done.
Set aside five minutes a day
Now that you have defeated that pile of mail, you will need to maintain a zero inbox. In just five minutes a day, you will be able to filter through the communication you receive. If you can do this, your productivity will increase as you take hold of the important things you need to accomplish.
Time is a hot commodity. Spend your time with clients or in upper-level tasks instead of in your inbox. A little time spent daily can make a huge difference in productivity in the future.
Is the task of taming your inbox something you can delegate? Contact Tessera and we will take care of those details for you.