Stop Running from Your Emails

Stop Running from Your Emails

Email has taken up so much of our time that it clutters our day. I have a system that I’ll outline for you that details exactly how you can manage your email so it isn’t taking over your life.

  1. Make Time – Schedule time in your calendar, in 30-minute increments. I recommend doing this at least 2 or 3 times a day to process your emails. This means figuring out what to delete, what to save, what to respond to, what to forward, etc. If you never clean out your inbox, then it will overwhelm you. It is not intended to be a storage unit.
  2. Change Your InboxI group my emails by who they are from so I can start and finish everything with that one person. Then I ask myself what is next with that email. It goes into one of 3 files: Trash, WTF (waiting on things from), and Categorize It. This way you get things out of the inbox and into the right place. For “junk” mail that you want to keep, I put this into a folder titled “Reading”.  When I have free time or want to access promotional emails, then I check in this folder. Otherwise, I get those emails out of my inbox as fast as possible.
  3. Just Do It– If you can tackle it in 5 minutes or less, then just do it. If it will take longer, schedule a time in your calendar to get to it. If you can delegate the response, do it. You also need to make a decision if the response is a must-do or a want-to-do response. This way you can prioritize your time to get what you need outdone, and if you have time then you can tackle the lower priority emails.
  4. Turn Off Notifications – You will already go through your emails during those scheduled times, so turn off the notifications. If you have a virtual assistant, you can have them pop in more frequently to look for urgent requests.
  5. Keep It Short If you feel that you need more than a paragraph in the email, then it is best to schedule a quick call. You want it to be efficient as possible and often long-winded emails are either misinterpreted, contain too much information, or are never read.

There you have it. Try this system this week and see how it goes. You’ll find some days may be easier to get through your emails than others. Always find ways to get rid of the useless clutter first and focus on what will move the needle the most. Your time is extremely valuable and shouldn’t be wasted answering emails.

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