If you are like many people in this day and age, you probably rely on your email for all sorts of communication. However, it can be easy for things to get out of control very quickly, and it can leave you dreading dealing with your overflowing inbox. Luckily, a few simple email management habits can help you keep your inbox under control.
Check it Frequently
Don't go days without checking your email just because you're dreading dealing with your inbox. Instead, schedule it into your day to check it a certain number of times, maybe two or three times per day. Just try not to get distracted for too long.
Delete a Little at a Time
If you're like many people, your email inbox might be overflowing with messages that you've already read and don't necessarily need to save. Going through and deleting them all can seem overwhelming, but doing a few each day can help you eventually get things under control without putting too much time into it.
Unsubscribe from Newsletters
It can be easy to end up on a lot of newsletter lists. Go through and check out the newsletters that you often find yourself deleting without reading. Then, look for an "unsubscribe" link at the bottom. You can make this easy by searching for the word "unsubscribe" in your email box; then, only your newsletters should be displayed. You might find it hard to unsubscribe from some of your newsletters, but remember you can always sign up again later. Chances are, you'll never think about the newsletter again after you unsubscribe, but you are sure to notice a cleaner email inbox.
Another option is to change your email settings with each one. For example, some newsletters allow you to reduce the number of emails you receive while still staying on the list.
If you aren't already using folders in your email box, you should start doing so now. You can create folders for various topics and organize your emails into them to clear out your inbox. You can even set up filters through most email providers so that emails from certain senders will immediately be sorted into the folders of your choosing.
Address Them Immediately
Address your emails immediately when you read them. Email responses aren't supposed to be too long anyway, so go ahead and respond if you're going to, then file or discard the email. If you get an email newsletter and want to check out the link, check it out now or bookmark it, then delete the email. By handling each email as it comes in, you can really reduce the amount of overflow in your inbox.
Be Actionable When Writing Emails
Another trick is to be actionable when writing emails - it'll help you get things handled faster and can reduce the back-and-forth. For example, when you're emailing someone to schedule a meeting, consider offering a couple of options, such as "I am available tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. and Friday at 9:00 a.m. Would one of these work for you?"
Then, the person can respond with an answer, and you can cut down on the back-and-forth communication. That means fewer emails in your inbox, which means fewer emails for you to respond to and fewer emails for you to have to delete later. Plus, it can make you appear confident when you're willing to make decisions rather than relying on someone else to do so.
Dealing with a huge email inbox can be a big pain. If you follow these tips, however, you may be able to finally get your email inbox under control.