Take Control of Your Inbox

EmailThis is harder and harder to do!

You probably thought your email box was already bursting at the seams, but you have not seen anything yet.

I do quite a bit of research in the general area of time management, and over time I do spot some trends. Here is one that has proliferated to every corner of the internet: “Sign-In Using [various social media] Accounts.” This new concept sometimes extends to your other devices.

Various content sites that you may visit asks you to “sign in” to gain access to their content. Well, OK! But they may also offer to make your life easier by presenting the ability to “sign-in” using one of your social media accounts. In my opinion you may have opened the flood gates to repetitive and duplicate email.

My experience is that when I have signed in to certain web sites, I may receive the same email in more than one account. For example, when I log-in to my business email account, I find that I have emails for sources that are totally unrelated to my business contacts. So, I suspect that data mining and commingling with social media has caused the problem.

So what can you do?

The following five (5) suggestions may not be appropriate in all cases, but you can be a bit more productive and save some time even if you can implement only one of these suggestions:

  1. Unsubscribe – I you are able to unsubscribe to certain lists, groups and forums you can relieve some annoyance and distractions. This will involve some investment of time up front, but the results will be worthwhile. If you can’t unsubscribe from certain non-essential lists, design some filters so the messages will go directly to junk or spam.
  2. Send Fewer Emails – Always ask yourself if email is the best way to respond to a given inbound email. Would it be easier, faster or more productive to use the phone, speak face to face or send an instant message? There are also software tools can help. So whether you decide to use software of modify your habits, it is important to take some steps to gain control of you inbox. The more email you send, the more you will receive.
  3. Empty That Inbox – Consider that the inbox is a temporary holding place for emails, until they are deleted or moved to a specific folder where you have developed specific actions for the disposition of those emails. Once you have moved email to the appropriate location for pre-defined action, your inbox is empty.
  4. Eliminate Distractions – It is distracting if your system provides notification of new incoming emails. The notification or interruption takes your attention away from the task at hand and require time to refocus your attention and concentration.
  5. Productivity Tools – There are a number of email productivity tools suggested in the article entitled, The 21 Best Productivity Tools to Add More Hours to Your Day. However, in the final analysis, we are in control and must adopt some new behaviors to take control of our in boxes.

Related Articles:   5 Email Lessons … for everyone!   and   5 Email Time Savers That Increase Productivity

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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Posted in Professional Skills, Time Management

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