Email is an important part of everyday life. We receive electronic bills, shopping offers, and personal email constantly, and we read them on our desktops, laptops, phones and tablets. Email is so ingrained in our day-to-day lives, and we rely on it to stay in touch with work, family and friends.
As a result, many of us struggle to stay on top of the avalanche of the perpetual email. In fact, most of us rarely arrive at Inbox Zero – the idea of a keeping your inbox empty of or nearly empty.
In an effort to help you manage your email more effectively, we’ve outlined a few helpful ways you can work your way back to a manageable inbox, and free some time for yourself to do other, important things.
- Put email on the Schedule
Successful people don’t just check email; they process it. Treat email like any other task. Plan time for it, put it on your daily schedule and then tackle it like anything else you want to accomplish. More importantly, stick to the allotted time you designate for it so that you don’t get caught up and miss out on other important things. Putting email on your schedule will ensure that it’s done with intention.
- Use multiple email addresses
If you don’t already, having a backup email address or (a few) is a good thing. You can use one for all your online shopping accounts and another for your online subscriptions to newsletters and forums, thereby leaving your main email address for messages that you actually need to read and manage on a daily basis. The other email can be read as time permits.
- Stop Excessive use of the CC Field
One easy way to reduce the amount of email you receive is to stop cc'ing so many people on your emails. This includes skipping the "reply all” button. The less email you send to people, the less you will receive back. By limiting your email to people who need to see your communication, you’ll reduce the clutter. Plus, your family and friends will thank you for not adding to their inbox.
- Create Email Filters or rules
Creating filters, also sometimes known as rules, is another effective way to prioritize messages that bombarding your inbox. Use filters to sort important emails so you know which to tackle first. Sorting messages into separate folders allows for easy organization of messages based on subject or sender, or by personal or business relationship. Incoming messages will automatically be placed (i.e. filtered) into the appropriate folders. To learn more about how to create and use filters and rules, read our “Using Email Filters, Folders and other Tips” post.
- Save time by Importing Emails from other Accounts
Finally, save precious time by aggregating all your email accounts into one inbox so that you never have to leave your primary account. This will you ensure that you never miss an important email and can still adhere to the email time table you outlined for yourself. Email is a useful tool that should help you stay connected with the people in your life, but it shouldn’t become a chore that keeps you from doing other, important things. By following these few, easy steps, you can manage your email more effectively as you strive for “inbox zero.”