Reclaim your email inbox
Do you need to reclaim your email inbox?
Does your inbox have too much clutter in it? Are you the laughing stock of your office because of it? Do you find it takes valuable time away from you that could be better spent dealing with the actual work that you and your business are meant to be doing?
According to a report from McKinsey Global Institute, the average person spends 28% of their working week reading or answering emails. That’s a whopping 11.2 hours per week; 560 hours a year.
If this sounds like you, it could be time for you to reclaim your email inbox and make your working life work better.
So here at Business First, we’ve come up with a few tips to help you reduce the size of your inbox and increase your productivity.
We’ll start with what is, probably, the quickest and easiest of our tips.
Set up keyboard shortcuts in your email, and learn them. Then use them. They can shave valuable seconds here and there, as you navigate your way through the absolutely necessary email tasks that the rest of our tips can’t help you get away from.
In Gmail follow these steps:
- Click the gear icon
- Select the ‘General Settings’ tab
- Select ‘keyboard shortcuts on’
Set up a Priority Inbox
If you use Gmail, you can set it up to automatically sort and organise your inbox for you. It will split your email inbox into three sections: priority emails; starred/flagged emails; and anything else. If you want to, you can add more sections. You can set the rules that affect what goes where and away you go, you no longer need to scroll through the detritus to find the important emails that you actually need to read or respond to.
Unsubscribe from all the mailing lists you’ve ended up on
This one might take a while if you aim to do it all at once – just remembering what you get spam from to find it and click the ‘unsubscribe’ link can be a task in itself. Or you can do it as and when these emails appear.
Either way, this is bound to reduce the number of emails that drop into your inbox by a good four or five a day, at least.
Only check your email twice a day
The number itself doesn’t really matter, but pick one and stick to it.
I chose twice, because this way, you can check in the morning to see what might impact on the tasks you have to do during the day, and then once again in the evening to enable you to add anything that is pressing to your to-do list for the following day, and reply to any that need it before you sign off for the night.
Use a false email address
Obviously not when you’re giving your email address out to business contacts, but if you have tried to download an e-book or something of that ilk, and the website it is on has demanded you sign up before it deigns to allow you to read its e-book; use a false email address when you sign up.
This way, you avoid the mindless spam that will be sent to you by the company that proliferated their e-book under the pretence of it being free (your email address is a commodity, currency, giving it away is a form of payment!).
Read, action, delete
So many email inboxes contain a plethora of emails that have been read, then marked ‘unread’ as a signal that no action has been taken regarding that email, yet.
Instead of doing this, if you read an email that needs a response, respond to it. Straight away. It gets it out of your inbox and off your to-do list, and also helps to progress whatever the email is about.
If the email you read happens to contain a task you need to complete, then add the task to your to-do list (whether you have a written one on your desk, or use Asana or some other online project management software – we all have a to-do list of some form, and if you don’t, then tidying your emails is hardly your main concern) to make sure that it doesn’t get overlooked and forgotten.
Once you’re done replying to the email, or adding its contents to your to-do list, add the email to the relevant folder. Or delete it, you’re done with it anyway.
Set up Gmail filters
This is another brilliant tool for keeping your inbox in some semblance of organisation. Gmail allows you to manually create an endless number of filters to automatically send received emails to a pre-ordained destination within your email folder. Whether that be your priority inbox, a particular folder, or even automatically starring the email or even sending it directly to your trash – it’s up to you.
Take a look at this article for some great tips on what filters to set up.
Gmail response templates
If you feel like a lot of the emails you send, particularly replies, are essentially the same thing rolled out, again and again, then you need Gmail’s canned responses. They are simple to use and (to coin a phrase stolen from Ronseal, which is particularly apt in this case) do exactly what they say on the tin.
Rather than typing the same response – or responses – out, over and over again, type them once, can them, then whip them out every time you need them without having to type them afresh. And what’s more, although Gmail probably has the easiest to use and best version of this feature, it is available on pretty much every email client.
You can also set up your canned responses to send out automatically based on your filters, with different canned responses to emails that match different criteria. Find out more here.
You’ve reclaimed your inbox
Once you’ve put all of these tips into practice, you’ve done it, your inbox has been reclaimed.
Business First can’t actually reclaim your email inbox for you, but if you’re looking for state-of-the-art serviced offices in Blackburn, Blackpool, Burnley, Glasgow, Liverpool or Padiham, then why not give us a call and see how we can help your business move from strength to strength.
And with our professionally manned reception desks in all of our foyers, we can help you to field your calls and reduce the stress of nuisance phone calls, even if we can’t deal with your inboxes for you.