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5 Ways to Get Control of Your Email

Business

Last September I left my email open for an entire month. From the 1st to the 30th I didn’t close it once. Maybe that’s the norm for you, but for me it was a little out of the ordinary. About a year ago I began trying to get my email habits under control. I read on several friend’s blogs that they no longer left their email open all day but instead scheduled two times per day to check their email. The reason they did this was to minimize the distraction that comes with every single email that arrives in your inbox. The ding, the little red number that appears at the corner of the icon. Every time an email arrives, distraction arrives with it. So I adopted the habit of checking my email two times per day. Once in the morning around 8:30 or 9a and once around 3:30 or 4p in the afternoon.

Our team at Showit communicates throughout the day using a really great team communication app called Slack. Slack allows us to chat and share information (even documents) amongst our team without the need for email. So keeping my email closed didn’t mean missing pertinent communication from my team and most emails are just fine if you respond to them within 6-24 hours. What didn’t work so well was the amount of junk mail that I was receiving on a daily and sometimes hourly basis. Some of it was my own fault. Signing up here and the for an subscription eventually adds up. Did you hear the statistic that was released a few months ago that says the average email user receives 147 emails per day. One hundred forty-seven emails in a single 24-hour period. Ouch. That certainly is enough dinging and red dots to drive even the most focused person to distraction.

Back in September of 2015 I was waking up every morning to somewhere between 25 and 45 emails in my inbox, most of which were not directed uniquely at me but were part of email marketing campaigns. And I get it. A large part of my job at Showit, is email marketing. And it can be a really important and successful part of a company’s strategy to reach customers. Only I didn’t need to be spending minutes if not hours every day wading through all that email… and neither do you.

If you’re feeling buried under the weight of all that digital communication here are five ways you can get control of the email monster:

  1. Unsubscribe: Instead of just deleting junk email, unsubscribe from anything and everything you truly don’t want.
  2. Set a schedule for yourself for when you will respond to emails and leave your email closed outside of those scheduled times. If someone really needs you, they’ll text you.
  3. Create a separate email account for the subscriptions you do want to receive.
  4. Set up filters to keep that junky junk mail from ever hitting your inbox. If the subject line includes “Penny Stocks” or “Prescription Meds” it isn’t ever going to see the light of day inside my inbox.
  5. Flag any email that requires a response from you.

 

For me, completing steps 1 – 4 helped to significantly reduce the number of unwanted emails I get every day. Now when I open my inbox in the morning instead of 24-45 emails I find at most eight. And of those eight, probably only three to four actually need my attention.

My last little bit of email conquering advice is to not skip step #5. Junk email aside, #5 has probably been the most helpful trick for me when it comes to staying on top of my email communication. When I open my inbox the first thing I do is to flag any email that looks like it needs a response from me. Then I triage those emails needing a response and respond first to the time sensitive ones. By flagging the emails that require a response I lower the chances that an email “falls through the cracks”. Every so often I still lose one, but it doesn’t happen nearly as often now that I’m not fighting through all the junk.

 

 

 

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