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Stop Drowning – how to better manage your inbox

Business | 31 Jan 2011

If I added up all the time each and every day that I spend sifting through my bloated inbox, I would for certain land myself in a stress, self-induced coma. If you are anything like me: upon waking you hammer the snooze button and shuffle for your Berry and/or iPhone to check your mail. Instead of milk, cream or the paper, you now take your mobile with your coffee. Throughout the day, wherever you go your phone follows and before turning in you take one last, quick peek at your email. All the while, you never seem to make headway, and the number of emails to read continues to stack up at an alarming rate.

Researchers say that in 2010 alone over 100 trillion emails were sent, and with email becoming the number one way for businesses to communicate, employees are spending more time than ever before just trying to manage them all. As we enter 2011 the need to effectively manage our emails is more important than ever, so here are 5 helpful steps to more effectively deal with your inbox.

Step One

If you’re like most people then you have emails dating back to the nineteen hundreds. Needless to say, it’s time to clean them out. The first step is to put aside 20 minutes to go through the last month’s emails. Once you’ve sifted through them all take every email before that and DELETE them! Trust me, you didn’t look at them last month, you certainly won’t need them next month, so just clean them out and start new.

Step Two

Check your email many times each day and be disciplined with deleting the ones you don’t need. When you can do this 2-3 times daily you’ll only have to go through a handful of emails at one time. Discipline in this regard will save you a lot of time in the long run.

Step Three:

When you check your emails deal with them right there and then. If you put an email off until later you just added another step to a simple task. When you get the email deal with it and be done with it.

Step Four:

If you can’t deal with certain emails immediately make files to store them in. For example, if you don’t have time to get back to a friend’s email that you want to put some effort into, you could store it in a file that’s labeled: “Important Replies.” That way you know where the important emails are, and you can deal with them all at once when you get the time.

Step Five:

Be very mindful about the email lists that you get on. Email marketing is big business, and crafty mailers want nothing more than to get your email so they can bombard you with their “newsletters.” If you want something for free and are contemplating giving up your email for it, think about making a junk-email address. You can create one in a matter of minutes, and having it will ensure that your everyday email won’t get filled up with spam.

If you’re tired of drowning beneath an influx of emails then it’s time to start acting proactively. If you take the time to clear them out, manage them as they come, and stay on top of them daily, your efforts will free up a vast amount of time; and most importantly, a vast amount of money.

Not the solutions for you? I might check out 1to1Real from the folks at Cmaeon AND the project management experts at WORKetc. Both companies offer brilliant software that will help you and your team be more efficient in your day to day tasks, including email.

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