Effective Emails – Part 5/5 – Inbox Management

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Welcome to the 5th and final part of our Effective Emails series, which we hope you’ve found informative. Now, to wrap up the series we focus on Email Inbox Management.

So, your email communication has improved and you’re participating more efficiently and effectively in the world of digital communication… It’s time to consider how to manage this stream of communication better. 

Here are our 5 HOTTEST TIPS for sorting, finding, and responding to your messages.

HOTTEST 5 Email Inbox Management TIPS

Tip 1 – Unsubscribe from Subscriptions | if your incoming promotional and subscription emails don’t automatically go to another tab or folder, as a rule, we suggest setting it up so they do.

Searching Google for how to set up rules for outlook (or ‘filter’ for Gmail etc.) will return simple steps for setting this up and stopping these emails from clogging your inbox, causing constant distraction.

It’s a good idea (and does both you AND the sender a favour) to review and even unsubscribe from these emails if you find yourself not opening them for more than 3 or so editions in a row.

Tip 2 – Action as you go | Depending on the number of emails you receive, it can prove highly productive to turn notifications off and schedule blocks of time 1, 2 or 3 times a day.

Another way to improve productivity is to touch each email as few times as possible. Here are a few ways to deal with mail when it comes in, or during your allotted time(s):

a) Respond immediately — if an email can be actioned with a short, snappy response attend to it right away. Keeping in mind that this doesn’t mean doing away with professional, friendly and polite tones and language.

b) Create a task — if there is an action to take, create a Reminder or Event in your calendar straight away, or add it to your Tasks/Activities List for when activity is required. Google Calendar is amazing for this and allows you to set reminders so that important tasks aren’t overlooked.

c) Move it — if it’s an email you need to retain for reference’s sake, move it to an appropriate folder — see suggestions in Tip #3

d) Delete it — when an email is FYI – For Your Information only or when you read it and recognise you’re not going to need to come back to it again, Press Delete. You can always retrieve it from the Bin / Trash folder if absolutely necessary.

Tip 3 – Sorting | As much as possible, set your Inbox up to have no more than half a dozen sub-folders, and get your EOS (Email Operating System) to sort your email for you on arrival.

A clever example we came across recently included the listed below. In this instance email would be Moved (dragged and dropped) from your inbox into these sub-folders upon viewing:

This weekWeb-Presence
This monthFuture Reference

All popular EOS’ have Rules & Filters that can be set up to sort your mail on arrival. An example of this would be “ALL Emails from Web-Sta Move to Web-Presence

Tip 4 – Finding | Don’t waste time trawling through folders and lists. Using your search field for any component of a message is always the most efficient way to find an email.

Some popular search field inputs include:

  • Sender’s name
  • Business name
  • Any part of the subject line; and
  • Any part of the content in the email body  

Tip 5 – Responding | Only when you have to. If an email doesn’t require a response, action it appropriately and move on. On the other hand, acknowledging receipt can be an important part of the process. A simple “Thank-you”, “Copy that” or “Chat soon on this” might suffice.

And That’s A Wrap

We hope you’ve enjoyed our Effective Email Series and would love to hear from anyone who has given any of these TIPS a red-hot go and report back on your experiences.

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