Helios Technology Matters

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Garry MacDonald

5 Quick Tips to Finally Organise Your Out-of-Control Inbox

Much like laundry and the kitchen flip top bin, no matter how much you try to keep up, emails just keep piling up in your inbox.

Email is a critical part of your day-to-day work, so how do you keep it from becoming a distraction while balancing the things you really need to address ?  Here are 5 tips…

1. Get your Inbox to zero. Do you remember the last time your inbox was empty ?  Probably the first day you got your mailbox.  That’s because it costs nothing to keep an email and therefore you don’t delete anything “just in case” you need them at some point.  If you really must keep them file them in a separate folder. Make it an absolute goal to zero your inbox every week to begin with and then every day when you get the system set-up (see next tip for more on that)

2. Use folders sparingly. Only set up key, strategic folders that are in line with the key tasks that you work entails. For instance if you were in sales then they might be: ‘Quotes Sent’, ‘Awaiting Supplier’, ‘Opportunities’ etc. This keeps your Inbox free and you focused on the duties and workflow of your job.

3. Take action immediately. Probably the most helpful way to keep your inbox uncluttered is to take action right away on all messages instead of reading them and then going back to them later when you have time to process the message properly.  By taking action right away you avoid time wasting time re-reading messages.  If it does require a follow-up that you don’t have time for, file the message and mark a reminder to follow up. Otherwise it is one of three actions: reply to it, delete it or file into one of your folders for subsequent action.

4. Don’t live by the email gong. Your email can be a constant distraction throughout your working day, if you let it ! Take control and set-aside email free time periods when you can concentrate on projects without interruptions.  Turn off the ‘you have email’ chime and notification to help you even further.  The world won’t stop if you don’t check your email every few minutes, I promise.

5. Reduce the influx. Finally, email can be a bit like waste management with the same first rule, if you can stop creating it in the first place then all the less to manage ! Cancel subscriptions to unwanted mailing lists and opt-out of legitimate e-zines.

The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute professional or other advice.

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