Email is by far one of the most useful tools for any successful business. However, it can also easily become one of the biggest time-wasters if not used properly. Weeding through unnecessary emails or spam and trying to be sure that you respond to important emails in a timely manner can be difficult. This can cause you or your employees to have a noticeable decrease in productivity which is the opposite of what email is supposed to do for your business. If you follow these five tips, however, you can gain control of your inbox and go back to using it as an effective productivity tool instead of a headache.
1. Keep Your Inbox Empty
This tip may be easier said than done, but when you keep your inbox empty you are well on your way to making sure that you control your inbox instead of your inbox controlling you. If your email has gotten out of control and you have no other options you can resort to an email “bankruptcy” this means that you delete all emails in your inbox to get back to square one. This is a last resort, however, and should only be used when you have no other option. Taking an hour or two to really go through your inbox manually and sorting your emails and getting down to “inbox 0” should be your first course of action and is worth the effort.
2. Respond Quickly To Important Emails
By decreasing your response time to important emails you not only establish yourself as someone who is efficient and professional but you will also be able to stay on top of your inbox. It’s much easier to remain at “inbox 0” when you don’t have a barrage of “important” emails waiting for your attention.
It’s a good idea to pick certain times of day that you intend to respond to emails, however, because if you don’t you will find yourself getting interrupted every time you hear that “new message” sound. A way to avoid this is to set an alarm on your phone to check your email at certain times of the day. Depending on how quickly you may need to respond to messages you can check it every few hours or twice an hour or whatever variation works best for your position.
3. Highlight Messages
When you have an inbox full of messages one of the best ways to cut down on the time it takes to organize and respond to all of them is to highlight the messages that have been sent directly to you. By doing this you can determine which messages need to be addressed immediately and which can be put off until a later time. This will help you achieve “inbox 0” as well as tip #2 which is responding to emails in a timely manner.
4. Use Disposable Addresses
A disposable email address is something everyone should have whether you only have a personal email address or both a personal and a work email. Most websites ask for an email address and if you don’t want to be bombarded with spam and junk email then it’s a good idea to create a disposable email for this exact purpose. A disposable email can make it so that any junk email goes directly there and won’t be cluttering your work or personal email ensuring that you can remain at “inbox 0.”
5. Consolidate Multiple Email Addresses
Trying to manage multiple email accounts can be time consuming and confusing. If you have more email addresses than you can reasonably stay on top of then it’s a good idea consolidate them with tools such as Gmail. Gmail can fetch mail from several external services and consolidate them all in one place allowing you to also consolidate the time it takes to check multiple email addresses.
Email can be an effective tool for any employee or small business owner but it’s important to make sure that you’re using it as efficiently as possible. Whether it’s by de-cluttering your inbox or responding to important emails promptly it’s important to make sure that you aren’t losing productivity due to a disorganized inbox. By utilizing these five important email hacks you can remain firmly in control of your email inboxes while also remaining productive and professional.