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6 Ways to clear your inbox today

Friday, September 04, 2015

Many of our readers will agree – there are few tasks at work that are as tedious and time-consuming as sorting through emails.

At the end of every workday, you may be left wondering where you could have fitted in all the things you were supposed to do between attending meetings and responding to emails.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could get back even half an hour every day to concentrate on more important work? With our top six tips for dealing with your dreaded daily inbox, you can. Think of these as insurance for keeping a clear inbox and maintaining a productive day:

1. Keep an email appointment

If you’re checking your emails every few minutes throughout the day, you’ll never get anything done. Being constantly interrupted can have serious effects on your job performance. In fact, there is an entire field of study dedicated to examining the effects of disruptions on employee productivity – it’s called interruption science.

A study conducted at the University of California at Irvine found that the average employee is interrupted every three minutes and afterwards, it takes 23 minutes to get back to the task they were busy with. It’s no wonder you can’t find the time to get your work done.

With all the interruptions you face every day, at least you can take control over how often your emails interrupt you. Make time twice a day to go through them and strictly stick to it. If your profession requires you to respond quickly, make a specific time every hour or two to go through them.

2.  Get off those mailing lists

If your inbox is filled up with marketing mailers every morning, consider unsubscribing. Even if you can’t wait to find out about the latest discount offer from your favourite online store, you can always unsubscribe your work email address and keep mailing lists strictly to your personal account. This will go a long way to clearing the masses of emails you receive daily.

If you receive a horde of mailers, there are some great programs out there that will remove your address quickly and easily, such as Unroll.Me.

3.  Phone or email?                               

Today, many people prefer email to phone calls or face-to-face discussions. It is efficient, instant, and you can reply at any time of the day; you’re not bound by office hours to reply to a colleague’s email. But if you find yourself involved in a back-and-forth email thread that requires more than a few lines of text to sort out, calling your colleague or walking over to his/her desk will save you both precious minutes.

4. Your inbox is not an agenda  

Refrain from using your email as your daily to-do list. An important task may get lost in the clamour of all of your other emails shouting for your attention. If you don’t like to keep a physical diary, there are loads of free programs that you can use to set out your daily tasks, such as Google Keep.

5. Folders are your friends

Create folders in your inbox for every part of your job. If you’re managing several projects at once, make a folder or label for each one and place every message related to that topic into the folder. Many email service providers allow you to set up filters so that as soon as a message comes in, it will automatically be sent to the correct folder. Doing this will keep your inbox perpetually clear and organised. 

6. Deal with it as it comes 

Make a rule to deal with an email as soon as you read it. Follow these three simple rules:

1. If you don’t need to do anything, archive it or place it into the relevant folder.

2. If you need to reply, do so then and there.

3. If you need to action something, do it right away. If you can’t, add it to your to-do list.

Clearing your inbox shouldn’t take up your valuable time, and neither should your insurer. Insure your valuables with Dialdirect Insurance because we understand that time is precious, and we won’t waste a second of yours.