Overloaded with emails? Some tips to help keep your inbox empty.

email overloadI honestly can’t remember the last time I saw the bottom of my email inbox. I feel like my inbox has become a black hole…I don’t even know where it begins. I try to go through every so often and delete old emails and clean it up a bit… but it always seems to be a losing battle. Especially for me because I get nervous deleting things, “just in case” I’ll need that email later. If you’re like me and you feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle just to keep your inbox manageable, we found some great tips on the Time Management Ninja blog for keeping your inbox empty. Here are 5 of those tips that I’m going to make it a point to follow from now on:

  1. Empty your inbox daily. This will help keep the emails from building up so you don’t have to spend a significant amount of time going through them… the more frequently you go through your email, the less cumbersome it will be. When you come in to work each morning, go through the emails you received the previous day.
  2. If you open it, you own it. If you open an email, make sure to take an action on that email… don’t just close it and let it sit in your inbox. Actions could include – replying, filing it, or deleting it.
  3. Don’t use your inbox as a to-do list. I am SO guilty of this one! You shouldn’t leave action items in your inbox, because as new emails come through, those action emails will get lost or forgotten about. Instead, add the task to your to-do list.
  4. Batch your email. You don’t need to deal with emails one by one as you receive them – it will take up more time of your day. Instead, go through and deal with several emails at a time. If an email comes through that is high priority, that’s an exception to this rule.
  5. Send fewer emails, get fewer emails. Stop sending unnecessary emails because the more emails you send, the more you’ll receive. Sometimes it makes more sense to go over and talk to someone as opposed to sending an email.

Check out all of the tips from Time Management Ninja.

Do you have any strategies that you use to keep your inbox manageable? Comment below! 

photo credit: blog.cloudshare.com
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2 Responses to Overloaded with emails? Some tips to help keep your inbox empty.

  1. Kim says:

    I’d agree with everything but #5. I’ve found that sending emails has worked out better for me than walking across the building to speak to someone face to face. Especially with a coworker who doesn’t have a very good memory, but is a superior to me and can easily throw me under the proverbial bus. Having the emails saved in a folder is valuable proof that I did communicate necessary information, and that I am doing my job. It’s a whole lot better than chancing getting in trouble on the job because someone else doesn’t remember what was discussed…even if I have to deal with some unnecessary replies showing up in my inbox. Otherwise, yes, I did a thorough new year cleanout of my inbox a couple of weeks ago, and these tips come in handy as reminders of how to keep it clean and organized. Thanks!

  2. Staci says:

    That’s a really good point about # 5 Kim. Sometimes it really does come in handy to have a “paper trail” (even though it’s not paper lol) to keep track of important conversations and to cover yourself. I do a similar thing actually because it helps me remember where I left off on something that I’m working with multiple people on, who I communicated to, etc. But then at the same time it DID start filling up my inbox… double-edged sword I guess! I think in my case I need to distinguish more between what emails need to be saved and which ones are safe to delete.

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