7 Strategies to Manage an Unruly Email Inbox

Managing email is one of the biggest time bandits that people today deal with. There’s a never-ending supply of new email, and it’s easy to spend an hour or two each day just responding to emails. If you’re looking to manage your unruly inbox more efficiently, here are a few ideas that I’ve found helpful.

  1. Designate a time to respond. If email is constantly interrupting your work, you’re not going to be very productive. When you set aside specific times to check and respond to email, say at 10:30, 1:30, and 4:30, you’ll be more efficient.
  2. Use Google’s Canned Responses. If you use Gmail, you can take advantage of Google’s Canned Responses. When you find yourself answering the same questions via email, you can create a template and then just select the appropriate response from your template list when you respond.
  3. Use “No Reply Needed”. Opening and reading emails that simply say “Ok, thanks” or “Will do” takes time. If you don’t need a response to an email you’re sending, go ahead and let the person know. Adding “No reply needed” to the end of your email will free the person to skip time-wasting responses.
  4. Be brief. Long emails are a time bandit for both the sender and the receiver. Challenge yourself to write shorter emails to save everyone time.
  5. BCC yourself as a reminder to follow up. Need to circle back and make sure someone dealt with the contents of your email? Just BCC yourself and star it in your inbox as a reminder to follow up.
  6. Use the phone. A phone call is often faster than email, particularly if you’re trying to match up schedules for a meeting. Go ahead and pick up the phone to cut down on time spent.
  7. Unsubscribe. We all somehow end up on the lists of myriad emails we don’t care about. Whenever you receive an unwanted email, go ahead and unsubscribe. If you wait, you’ll just have to deal with another email later.

I’d love to know your strategies for managing your email. What works for you?

Published on May 27th, 2015 in Blog

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