While email is useful and saves a lot of time, it can also get out of control and slow you down if you’re not organized. Here are some tips to help you keep your emails in check.
Use Filters, Labels and Folders – Simple is better than complicated, so don’t go too crazy with these. But creating a few labels and filters helps minimize the clutter in your inbox. You’ll be less likely to miss an important email too.
Delete, Save, and Reply Promptly – When you open an email, take care of it immediately. If it requires nothing, delete it. In fact, be liberal with the delete key! It’s tempting to save newsletters and such “just in case,” but you’re not likely to ever read them again. If the email has something interesting you want to note, use a note-taking program to save it. If the email has a task, copy/paste it into your to-do list and calendar.
Set specific times to check email – Don’t keep email notifications on all day, or you’ll be constantly dealing with email. Instead, choose specific times during the day to check email, such as first thing in the morning, after lunch, and about an hour before the close of business.
Create separate addresses – One of the great thing about email addresses is that there’s no limit to how many you can have. Don’t go nuts, but create a separate email for non-urgent information such as businesses that require an email sign-up to view information or non-relevant newsletters.
Keep replies short and sweet – You don’t want to write long emails, if you can help it. An email answer should be, at the most, about 3-4 paragraphs. Try to include bullet points, to make it easier for the recipient to read and act.
Using these tips and tricks will help you minimize how much of your time and effort email takes up. Taming the email monster will pay off in many ways and give you more time each day to focus on other more important tasks.
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