Get Your Inbox Under Control


5 Tips For Getting Your Inbox Under Control

Pretty much everyone has an out of control inbox. We’ve all got dozens, sometimes even hundreds of emails that remain un-opened and un-read. It clutters up our inbox, making it hard to manage all of our emails. As a result, important things get missed amongst the sea of endless un-read items. Not only that, but your day becomes less productive as you spend too much time trying to trawl through your sea of emails!


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So, something needs to be done to stop all of this madness. If you’re looking to fight back and gain control of a messy inbox, then here are five tips that will serve you well:

1) Find a good spam filter


Spam emails will litter your inbox every single day. In fact, if you want to carry out an experiment, then leave your inbox unattended for a few days. When you go back to it, see how many of the emails are just pure spam. It will shock you when you notice that the majority of your regular emails are pointless pieces of junk!

Now, the good news is that a lot of email clients - like Gmail - have gotten good at moving spam to different folders for you. So, you don’t always notice it in your primary inbox. However, they can rarely get rid of everything. As a result, you need to get your own spam filter to take care of things for you.

With a good spam filter, you can get rid of all these unwanted emails. As soon as they’re detected, they can be deleted. It stops you from having to deal with them at all, which lightens your daily workload. Not only that, but your inbox instantly becomes less cluttered. Instead of having 100 emails to sort through, you could have as few as 20 or 30. There’s less chance of you missing important emails because spam emails are cluttering your vision. So, find the best spam filter for your particular email application, then install it! You will see plenty of options online, so take a look at reviews and choose one that suits your needs best.

2) Utilise automated/canned responses

An automated response is sent out as soon as you receive an email. It’s a good way of letting people know that you’ve received their email, and you’ll get to it right away. A canned response is basically a response that you’ve saved for repeat use. Again, some email applications have canned responses built into them. So, when you get an email, it automatically suggests how you respond.

If you utilise canned or automated responses, then it allows you to take control of an out of control inbox. A lot of your time is probably spent trying to reply to dozens of emails all at the same time. You keep typing out responses, hitting reply, and it can take the best part of an hour on a busy day - if not longer! The result is usually that you give up and leave your inbox as a mess.

But, with automated responses or canned responses, you can reply to people at the click of a button. Open the email, select your response, and you’re done. It takes up less time so you can get rid of all your new emails in a fraction of the time it would usually take you. So, you go from numerous notifications to none!

3) Make sure you have multiple email addresses

Think about why your email inbox is out of control. More often than not, it’s because you use this email address for just about everything. Relevant emails get sent there, but so do emails from companies whose mailing lists you accidentally signed up to. The result is that you’re bombarded with far too many emails all in the same place.

To counter this, you need multiple email addresses. Have one that you use for important things like your bank, phone company, and so on. Then, you can have others for less important things like emails from shops that you’ve ordered items from, etc.

In essence, you spread the load across two or three accounts. As such, it’s easier to manage each inbox individually. From a mental perspective, it’s far simpler to read and manage 2 emails in one inbox, 10 in another, and 3 in one more - compared to all 15 in one place! You also keep your essential emails all in one place, so there’s less chance of them being lost amongst the not so important emails you receive.

4) Deal with emails as soon as you get them

What’s the number one reason all of your inboxes end up full of unread emails? It’s because you don’t deal with them right away, so you leave them there to build up. If you start reading your emails and sorting them as soon as you notice them, then it makes your task much more manageable. It’s almost like washing your dishes after eating; if you wash them as soon as you’ve eaten, then that’s it, they’re dealt with. But, if you leave them on the side and put it off, then you end up piling dishes on dishes until it takes ages for you to clean them all!

Thanks to notifications, you can handle an email as soon as it arrives in your inbox. When you combine this idea with canned responses, it makes email management far simpler. Just open the email, read it, then select the desired response. You create a more free-flowing inbox where you don’t end up with a backlog of dozens of emails.

It’s also a smart idea to have periods in your day where you don’t check your emails. This sounds counterproductive, but it just ensures you aren’t constantly checking your inbox. Deal with them when you get them, then have a few hours where you can be more productive before going back to your inbox and sorting through any new emails.

5) Open up new methods of communication

How many emails do you get from people at work that are just a few sentences? It happens a lot; they email you asking you a question, and you email them back. Realistically, couldn’t this be done via a different communication method? Isn’t it easier to text one another or send an instant message? Even a short phone call would be more productive!

With that in mind, you can take control of an out of control inbox by opening up new methods of communication. Give people different ways of contacting you, so they don’t automatically default to email. You’ll be amazed at how many emails you cut down on thanks to this.

Things like Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp are all great instant messaging platforms. Here, people can send you messages without filling up your inbox. This reserves your inbox for messages that can only really be sent via email. We’re talking about the more long-form messages that you might receive. Anything that’s just a few sentences long or requires multiple back and forth messages can be done via instant messaging instead. As such, you reduce the number of notifications you see every day, and your inbox is easier to manage.

Arm yourself with these five tips if you want to make your inbox a much better place. You’ll no longer be faced with hundreds of unread emails that keep on piling up. You’ll no longer miss important messages that are hidden in your cluttered inbox. These five tips help you gain control of your emails and create a system that’s not as hectic. After this, your life will be far more productive!

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