How many e-mails do you have in your inbox right now? Chances are you said a number higher than “zero.” Probably much higher. So what can you do to deal with an ocean of e-mails? Read my tips below!
Make a Date with Your Inbox
There are two types of e-mails that I respond to immediately:
- E-mails from work/a client
- E-mails from my mom (What can I say? She worries if I don’t write back).
Everyone else can wait ‘til Friday.
That’s right, every Friday I have a standing date with my e-mail inbox. I take her out to dinner, we have a nice chat, and then I go through and reply to all the e-mails that have stacked up throughout the week. (One-third of that last sentence was true).
Why this system works:
- Your clients/work will always get swift replies. That’s just good business!
- It increases productivity during the week. Instead of spending your hours replying to all your e-mails, you’ll be spending your hours actually working on stuff!
- You won’t go into “e-mail overload.” Trying to reply to/please everyone at once can make you feel overloaded. Which can lead to procrastination… Which could mean that those e-mails never get a reply!
- It’s kinda nice to save all your “friend” e-mails for the end of the week. After spending the bulk of the week dealing with business e-mails, it can be sort of a special treat to finally sit down and see what your buds have to say.
Remember: If it were an emergency, your friend would call you—e-mails can wait.
3 More Tips For an Empty Inbox
- Delete, Delete, Delete! Use your delete button. You know which e-mails don’t even need to be bothered with. Get rid of them! (Or unsubscribe!)
- Know when to stop replying. Have you ever had an e-mail come back that just says “That would be fine” and you say “okay” and then the other person says “okay?” You don’t have to write back to everything. Recognize the end of the conversation when it comes along. (This bothers me with text messages too. I hate it when I say something and I get “k” as a reply). Not only does this waste your time, but it’s likely to annoy the other person as well!
- Use the phone. I’m not a fan of the phone (I prefer writing), but my bosses at my new job swear by it! And, I gotta admit, some situations are easier to clear up with a quick phone call then a long string of e-mails… And it saves space in your inbox!