How to Tame Your Inbox

How to Tame Your Inbox and Be More Productive

If you are an average person, then maybe you spend a lot of your time on email at work. As per a report from the McKinsey Worldwide Institute, the average worker spends 2.6 hours daily on email that is equivalent to 28 percent of your workday, and this study was conducted in 2012; it will not be a surprise if that number has gone up since.
But never does email suck up a ton of your time; it sucks up a lot of your attention.

Below are some fine tips to tame your inbox and be more productive.

No, you cannot ignore messages from your boss, important team members as well as other crucial work influencers. But do you need to subscribe to sale alerts from your favorite retailers? And updates on your social media activity? Unsubscribing can take some time, but it will save you a lot of time in the long run.
One other idea: Establish an email account strictly for junk and fun emails. Check that account as time allows.

Install a productivity app
Newton, Streak, and Sane Box are the applications that let you filter or prioritize email, automatically respond, and much more.

Respond smart
1st, turn off audio and visual alerts for emails. Then, set a time of day during which you’ll respond. That sounds simple, but how do you ensure you do not lose business by not instantly responding to an email from an important customer and your boss? Use email tools to automatically respond to messages as well as tell them when to expect a response. An instance of such a message will be: I am out of the office but will return at 8 a.m. tomorrow and then I will be able to reply to you.

Do not delete, but do archive
Most people keep email in their inbox for fear of losing it. As long as you do not delete such emails, you can find them again using search features. So, archive emails into a separate folder as well as get them out of your inbox.

Change your thinking
Think about the physical mailbox you have in which you can receive the physical mails. You do not check it 20 times a day. You do not allow the mail dictate of the day your entire schedule. And you do not take the mail out and return it to the mailbox. If you develop the same attitude about your email inbox, you will reduce stress and boost productivity.

Do not Use Your Inbox as a Task Manager
Using your inbox as an archive is bad, but using it as a task manager is worse. It is easy and simple to get into this trap. You see some mail and then think to respond to that mail. However, responding needs you to take some other steps that you do not have time for right now. So, you put off responding unless later, and the unanswered emails pile up.

Luckily, it is simple to remove this issue: use a task list. Here is how to use your email inbox and task list together:

Clear Out the Junk
To begin, clear out your inbox of any items that do not need action. This means archiving and deleting. Sometimes, people worry about deciding if they should archive and delete messages. To fix this, there is an easy rule for this. If you ever think that you will want something again, then you will archive it. Modern email programs have so much storage that it is unlikely that you will ever fill up the archive. And if you do for many reasons, you can clear it out later.

Take Action on Quick Tasks
Once you have archived and deleted all emails that do not need action, you can move on to process the next kind of email. These are the messages you may take action on in five minutes or less. Taking action will mean sending a response, although it can mean doing another rapid task related to the email. So why never add these items to your task list? You can, but you can do the task in the amount of time it will take you to add it to your to-do list.

Turn off email notifications
If you need to handle your inbox, then turning off your notifications may be a help. As per psychologists, email notifications are a toxic source of stress because they lead to continuous interruptions throughout the day. Those interruptions are damaging to your productivity as well as research shows that every notification throws us off by 64 secs, and it takes about 20 minutes to reach productivity again.

Make a read later folder
So much of what comes into our inboxes is reading materials: reports, studies as well as other documents. Having a reading folder, and a couple of reading folders may help with this. There are tools like Pocket that are made to simply capture reading material.

Feedly is another classic instance of this or another way to decrease inbox glut. If you are subscribing to dozens of blogs because you need to stay on top of new content, consider switching to their RSS feeds. Then use Feedly as well as another RSS tool as a way to stay on top of what they publish. You will have access to all their posts, but you will not have to type through your inbox to find them.

Use Inbox by Gmail
It cannot be as entirely revolutionary as most have made it out for being, but Inbox by Gmail does have one best feature: It’ll show new emails from essential people on your cell phone in the same format as to how you see new text messages on your phone. You will not have to check your inbox; you will see the new email as well as the first sentence or so of the reply without even turning on your phone.

You may set Inbox by Gmail to chime and make whatever noise you need when you get a new email from somebody. The app is quite smarter at figuring out which emails deserve this special attention. If you trust it sufficiently, it can help reduce how often you pick up the phone during dinner. So, there you have it an entire day of your life back. If you have got an email management tip that isn’t included here, please let’s know about it in the comments.


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