It would be best if you kept your inbox empty or as close to empty as possible. Merlin Mann, the one who came up with the idea of Inbox Zero, isn’t too worried about his cluttered inbox. But you should be. Cleaning and organizing your inbox saves a great deal of time, lets you focus on more critical tasks, not to mention that it’s your chance to be free from the chains of your mailbox. If you want to get your email under control, keep in mind these tips. They’ll make it happen.
Unsubscribe From Emails You Don’t Need to Read
How many messages have been sitting in your inbox? Too many, most likely. Less than 10% of your incoming mail is pertinent, and the rest is made up of emails you don’t need to read. Delete and unsubscribe from all your spam. You shouldn’t click the unsubscribe button as a rule of thumb because it tells spammers that your email is live, and you’ll get even more messages. Plus, they rely on your click to obtain more of your information. The best thing you can do is to mark the messages as spam in your inbox.
In what follows, we’ll present the main categories of emails to unsubscribe from:
- Newsletters and subscriptions. Even if you love to receive coupons, you’re better off without junk mail. Be honest with yourself. Are you really going to use that promotion before it expires? There are apps to help you manage piles of subscriptions.
- Social media alerts. Notifications from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Google Plus are frustrating, and they can distract your attention from what matters. Try to keep your email and social media accounts separate.
- Junk. Junk email is the unsolicited or unwanted email sent. We unknowingly hand out our information to random shops or list our email addresses on social media. The point is that you should be careful in what you do with your email and delete the stuff you receive without opening them.
There should be nothing in your inbox to distract you from your work.
Use Labels, Tags, and Folders
Without folders, your inbox becomes a mess of tasks, reference items, junk, and more. When naming your folders, be very specific and make them easily recognizable. For instance, you can create Due Date folders for tasks. You can have a Today folder, a Next Week Folder, and so on. Rely on your to-do list, calendar, and phone reminders when it comes to keeping track of when you receive a message. Your inbox will get the better of you if you don’t take charge. Organize your emails by subject and think of them in terms of deadlines.
Some email programs allow you to sort and store messages in folders, while others labels. Gmail is one such example. The labels act as folders. Generally speaking, labels function like sticky notes. More precisely, you can attach notes. If you use a service like Outlook, use labels to stay productive. You can create a Story Ideas folder and tag relevant messages if you’re a technology blogger. You can even add colors to specific messages. Use shortcuts to respond to messages and sort through them quickly.
Get The Help of a Virtual Personal Assistant
If you’re too busy with work that you don’t have enough time to return emails, consider hiring a virtual personal assistant. You need a helping hand. Find a PA with experience in dealing with email management. They’ll clean up, sort, archive, or delete messages that are clogging your inbox. A virtual personal assistant knows strategies that work, so they’ll get the work done in a timely fashion. The best part is that you don’t have to lift a finger. The first step to working with a PA is to provide them access to your email. Don’t be worried about sharing your private details.
Virtual personal assistants are used around the world. The number of PAs tends to be higher in the UK. As technology develops, the role of virtual personal assistants is becoming more prominent. The duties can vary depending on the sector. A Virtual PA UK can have responsibilities such as e-commerce website management, blogging, accounting, and social media management. A virtual personal assistant can work from anywhere in the world. If you’re looking forward to hiring a virtual PA, know what qualities and skills you want and ask for verifiable references. Testimonials from previous employers will help you get an idea of what the virtual assistant is like.
Apply The 2-Minute Rule
Do you contemplate over emails? If the answer is yes, you find yourself feeling anxious. At times, you deal with delayed or absent responses, short messages, and persistent emails. Respond to emails sitting in your inbox that will take less than two minutes to do so. If it takes less than two minutes to reply, do it. Keep in mind that you have other things to do, such as making phone calls, responding to meeting requests, and scheduling tasks into your calendar. If it takes longer than expected to respond to the message, deal with it later.
Responding to emails offers a sense of accomplishment. Even if you don’t have anything on your list to check, you’ll still be productive during the day. Set time aside each day to go through your email, and don’t keep the tab open in your browser all day long. Maybe you have a webinar or a conference starting in a few minutes. Resist the urge to check your emails or sign in to your social media accounts. If you apply the 2-minute rule at the wrong time, your productivity will decrease. Yes, you should take action and prevent stuff from accumulating in your inbox, but dedicate scheduled time.
All in all, it doesn’t matter how many emails are in your inbox. What matters is that you learn to communicate more effectively via email. Email will remain a core tool for business communication. Master email and eliminate tension, frustration, and other negative consequences. It’s not as hard as it looks.