Well we’re winding down to the end of this short series. But we still need to go over a few things that will help you conquer information overload, so now we’re going to jump right in and talk about how to manage your email more effectively, avoid wasting time and feeling overwhelmed by your overflowing inbox.
There are a lot of time wasters in life and when left unfettered email is one of them. You open your inbox and see a hundred messages all clamoring for your attention. The next thing you know you’ve wasted an hour sifting through all the information, although it may be useful there’s no way for a person to ingest every bit of it.
It can be overwhelming. Even if you delete your spam, there is still a lot left over that can be difficult to manage. But, you can get a handle on your email by following these simple tips.
Check on a schedule
Depending on your responsibilities, it’s best to limit the amount of times you check your email. For me one to three times a day works. For example, I check my email in the morning, then before I finish working for the day and sometimes right before bed depending on what I have going on. Set up a schedule that works for you and keep in mind that fewer trips to the inbox mean less wasted time.
Unsubscribe from newsletters you don’t read
I’m guessing you’ve signed up for several newsletters and while they may be full of information you know you’d love to read, you never do. You just save it for later and later doesn’t come. If you have an inbox full of messages that you haven’t opened for months then chances are you can live without it, so unsubscribe. This will not only reduce the amount of email you receive it will help you focus on the more important ones.
Reply, schedule, delete and save
It might be tempting, but you don’t have to reply to every single email. When you open an email, if you can answer it right away, do it. If you can’t, put it in a “reply by date” folder. So, with each email, you should be able to reply, schedule a reply or delete it. There will be very few emails that meet the “save to read later” category. Ensure that you are very picky about this. If it’s not something you know you can act on, delete it and make sure you delete your saved emails every thirty days.
Extract important information
Instead of leaving emails sit in your inbox try saving the important information. For instance, if you read an email that links to an article that will help your research copy it and put it into a word file, visit it and bookmark it or use something like Evernote to keep track of it. Then you can delete the email and move on.
Set up a receipt folder
When you pay bills, or shop online you’ll get a lot of receipts and you may need to save them for tax purposes. If so, set up a folder for receipts to go into, with the tax year on it; for example, 2017. Then filter all receipts into that folder. That way you’ll have any receipts handy when you need them.
Use an autoresponder
Even in your regular email you can set up an autoresponder that lets people know you received their email and will respond to them as soon as possible. You can also use it to provide other information such as alternate methods of communication. That way, if something is important they can reach you.
Autoresponder are a very powerful tool especially for business, because you can set them up to perform multiple tasks like following up with customers after a purchase or to send a monthly newsletter or even a course just like this one!
Set up filters
Most email programs make it easy to filter information, so that before you even look it’s labeled a certain way. This way you can manage the email more efficiently. There are some emails you simply don’t need to open and read. This way you can delete them more easily and see the important messages faster. For example, you can filter messages that have certain words to be labeled with that word, so you can search that word and answer them faster or delete.
We hope those tips were helpful to you. Now go take some time to organize your inbox. Get rid of unwanted lists, set up some folders and filters to help you keep track of the email you receive. Prioritize per the ones you want to see first, the ones you want to keep and the ones that don’t require immediate attention, you’ll be glad you did.