1 If your inbox feels overwhelming and out of control, take a moment to consider the messages you receive on a regular basis.
If you subscribe to newsletters that arrive on a daily or weekly basis, assess the content for material you actually read. If you find that you have a backlog of subscription newsletters sitting in your inbox waiting for you to have the time to read them, create a folder and filter those message into it. You can read them at your leisure AND they will not clutter your inbox possibly obscuring messages that need more immediate attention.
2 Review the messages currently sitting in your inbox. How many are over a week old? How many are you holding to read that do not require an active response? How many are there "just incase"?
These messages can be moved out of your inbox. Folders can be labeled in a manner that allows you (or a filter) to do this confidently.
Create or rename your folders so you do not have messages in limbo.
3 Do you need to declare "inbox bankruptcy"? We recently worked with clients that had upwards of 20,000 messages sitting in their inboxes. They identified a date that felt safe and then moved all of the messages that had arrived prior to that date to a folder labelled "Bankrupt". Each client pledged a specific amount of time each day (or week) to cleaning out their "Bankrupt" folder. This made the task feel manageable and prevented their inboxes from feeling overwhelming.
4 Consider the timing of your email use. When can you spend a chunk of time sifting, winnowing and responding? How often to you check back?
Now consider when the majority of your messages arrive? Are they there waiting for you at the start of your day? Do they arrive primarily in the morning as colleagues begin their work day? How predictable is your inbox traffic?
Based on what you discover, plan to spend your time efficiently by giving your attention during heavy traffic times and focusing elsewhere without interruption during slow periods.
Depending on your work/life events, your routine may need to be altered as high demand events occur, particularly if the role you are playing is conducted remotely.
5 Monitor your email traffic over the next couple of days. Have you seen an improvement in efficiency based on the actions you have taken unsubscribing, sorting, and having email management as a planned part of your daily routine?
If you continue to feel overwhelmed with your email traffic. Identify the specific cause. Which factors are you able to impact? This may require a conversation with a supervisor, colleagues or family members to find solutions. Solutions that work long-term will found only after a period of trial and error.
The health of your email inbox depends on consistently applied strategies and continuous attention to shifts that require adjustments in your routines.
Need a boost to get started? Would receiving ongoing support and encouragement speed the achievement of your goals? This is our specialty! Contact P2G Consulting to learn more about our coaching service options and begin your journey!