How to Be Productive in a Crowded Inbox

 Productive Crowded Inbox
 
Today's Guest Post is from Sara Carter. Sara is an experienced tech expert who writes with her colleagues on Enlightened Digital, to share her passion with others around the web. After 15 years in the industry, her goal is to bring information on all technology to the masses. Her philosophy is to create each article so that anyone can understand the content, whether they are a consumer or a technology expert. Check out her site at Enlightened Digital.

The idea of an email inbox is simple and straightforward, but the amount of time and effort it takes to keep that inbox organized, or empty if you’re lucky, is substantial.

Depending on who you talk to, you will probably get a different answer on what the best strategy is to keeping your inbox manageable. Emails are essential to the daily tasks of almost any job which means it’s important to take the time to figure out your process now, to save time in the long run.

There are different stages to look forward to when planning to dig deep into your inbox organization techniques.

First, get rid of all those unwanted promotional emails and trash your junk mail isn’t catching. Services like Unroll.Me provide you with the ability to see a list of all your subscription emails and then choose which you would like to unsubscribe from. This is an easy first step that will be incredibly beneficial later on.

Plan it Out

Decide how you want to organize.....

Do you like folders or categories?
Would you rather have everything in one place and organize by subject lines?

This is going to make a difference when it’s time to start answering those emails. After doing research, it seems no one can agree on the best way to do this, or if it’s a worthwhile strategy.

Remember it’s about what works best for you.  Folders can save on time and stress for some, while others might find it to be more of a hassle and unnecessary extra step.

Regardless of what plan you use to organize your inbox, it’s important to not let your email run your entire day.

Set priorities of what needs to be answered today, and decide what can wait. A useful technique that can be helpful is setting aside the same time(s) each day to check your inbox. This way it becomes just another small part of your every daily routine, instead of a large fraction of one day. The overwhelming consensus is that the best time to do this is first thing in the morning.

If you’re stuck wondering how you receive so many emails each day, take a look at your “sent” messages. Sending less could help lower your incoming mail too. Before sending one, think if there’s an easier way of getting your message to the desired recipient. If they’re in the same office as you, talking to them face-to-face will most likely be more efficient and productive anyways.

Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, won’t send an email unless it’s absolutely necessary, 

As ridiculously simple as it sounds for such a pervasive problem, I’ve found this to be the golden rule of email management: Send less of it.
— Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn

How to be MORE Productive

When I was on the hunt for productivity tips trying to better my own work flow, I discovered a helpful tool called the Eisenhower Box. Yes, it is indeed named after the 34th president of the United States. President Eisenhower is said to have had one of the best productivity strategies of all time, and has been studied by many people throughout the years. So much so, that it was taken and created into a plan for others to use too.

                                                                        Eisenhower Matrix

                                                                       Eisenhower Matrix

By organizing in four categories; dodecide, delegate and delete, you can determine how to prioritize your work and if you should be the one doing it. It may turn out some work can be passed on to someone else, or eliminated completely. It’s a simple strategy that anyone can implement into their routine. This system has the potential to increase your productivity and improve overall email efficiency.

What Works For You

Whether you’re a Fortune 500 executive, an assistant, or a recent college graduate at a new job, we all can agree that managing emails has the potential to be one of the biggest struggles in a work week. Find a strategy and stick to it.

The more you do it, the easier it will become! Stressing over emails and worrying about finding time for your other work will be a thing of the past.

What Email Management Techniques work for you?

What have you found that helps reduce your Inbox stress?

 
Today's Guest Post is from Sara Carter. Sara is an experienced tech expert who writes with her colleagues on Enlightened Digital, to share her passion with others around the web. After 15 years in the industry, her goal is to bring information on all technology to the masses. Her philosophy is to create each article so that anyone can understand the content, whether they are a consumer or a technology expert. Check out her site at Enlightened Digital.