We’ve come to depend on emails for many of our work functions. Emails are now a primary tool for office communication so you can expect it your inbox to get flooded with emails especially if your work needs constant collaboration with colleagues and clients. Before you know it, you’ve got an inbox gone haywire – there’s just so many messages that you are left reeling. Your productivity tool has transformed itself into another chore that is derailing your schedule.
Here are some things you can do that will help restore order to your inbox:
You should set a time just for answering emails. You may not know it but answering emails can occupy a large amount of your work time. According to a study done by the McKinsey Global Institute, the average worker can spend up to 28 percent of his workweek just checking and answering emails. That’s more than a fourth of your time working. Unfortunately, a significant number of these emails may not be important to your work. The only way to be effective in dealing with email is to allot a certain time of the day just going through your inbox, answering emails and discarding junk. A good way to do this is to allocate about 15 minutes every two hours just answering emails. That’s good time management.
You should handle important emails first. If you read all of the emails that come your way you’ll end up just reading emails the whole day. The key is to prioritize the emails that arrive in your inbox. Identify which emails are related to your work and read those first. All other types of emails should be read at the end of the work day. In fact, you can even take it a step further by just deleting all emails that look unimportant. You can identify it easily by just reading the subject of the email.
Use the Inbox Zero system. The Inbox Zero system was developed by Merlin Mann and is considered one of the best ways to handle inbox clutter. Inbox Zero does not mean there shouldn’t be any emails left in your inbox, instead it refers to having ‘zero brain investment’ on your email inbox. When you receive an email, you are supposed to do one of five things – delete or archive the email, delegate tasks, respond to the email, defer the email, or do what is instructed in the email. This system is highly effective in that it will prevent you from having to open an email a bunch of times just to read the information contained therein over and over again.