Email management is a universal task in today’s world, but when the inbox gets full, it can become overwhelming and stall productivity. Below are six tips for keeping pace with your inbox so you can live a more balanced, productive life.
- Don’t Check It. Schedule It: Think of email like snail mail. Don’t check it constantly and react to every message streaming into your inbox. Set aside time to work on it two or three times a day when your energy is too low to take on larger projects.
- Do It Tomorrow: Because email is similar to snail mail, most messages do not need an immediate response. Instead, practice “yesterbox,” a technique for responding to email that arrived the day before. Emails requiring urgent attention can be handled with a phone call.
- Signal a Boundary: When you do respond to emails, add a signature line that lets readers know your regular response times. Add a line to encourage them to call rather than email with emergencies.
- Keep It Short and Clear: An email doesn’t need to be lengthy. In fact, it should be no more than three short paragraphs. Send email when you are clear-headed and can set aside emotions. This will help you stick to action verbs, set deadline dates, and provide instruction without long emotional tirades.
- Be Choosy: Be mindful of other people’s inboxes and don’t hit “reply all.” Figure out who needs the information you plan to send and send it just to those people.
- Get Help: Still feeling overwhelmed? Call a professional productivity coach to help you find solutions and balance.