We love our email. We hate our email.
Email keeps us in touch, email keeps us in business. But it can also be a productivity killer.
How many times have you been in the middle of doing your work, you’re getting things done, you’re in a grove and suddenly that envelope pops up in the corner and you hear that “Ba-dum”. You can’t help but click over to check your mail, right? It could be important, and then again it could be a ‘Save on select swim-wear’ email from Target.
So how do you use your email in an effective way?
Not all email is important email. Some things can wait. So for those emails that you just have to answer or take care of immediately, do so. But for matters that can wait, schedule a time in your day – perhaps at the end of the day – to take care of those.
You do know your email program allows you to create folders, right? So make a folder for those important categories you always seem to use and file the appropriate emails in them.
And yes, my Christmas 2006 folder is apparently very important to me.
When you create filters, your email program basically organizes your email for you. To set up a filter simply enter the filter conditions or rules – coming from a specific sender or has a certain keyword in the subject – then select what you want to do with those emails – delete, file in folder, forward it to another email address or recipient.
You’d be surprised how smart your email program really is. Just a tip, if you have the email moved to a specific folder, don’t forget to check that folder every now and again.
Do you find yourself writing the same general emails over and over? If you create a template, you can simply copy and paste the body of the email, change a few things, and save some time. Using Microsoft Office? Use the auto text feature, this way when you type in a certain word or phrase, it will insert the template you created.
Did you order your mother something from Things Remembered three years ago and you’re still getting emails from them? Take advantage of the unsubscribe link on the bottom of those emails. Your inbox will thank you.
Delete, Delete, Delete
Simple – delete emails you don’t need.
Now my little tip – don’t automatically delete your delete folder. So if you delete an email and then a few days later realize that you need it, you can still search for it. Or in my case, if you need that email 8,000 emails later…
You should probably schedule some time every few months to go through your inbox folders, delete folder and sent folder to permanently get rid of those emails. Chances are if it’s over 90 days, you don’t need it anymore. And I’m going to do that right now.