I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by my emails, lately.
My first step in dealing with my email overload is by keeping my email accounts divided. Before, I had all my email pouring into one inbox. It was a great idea at first, but as a few of the accounts began to receive more and more email, the one inbox strategy didn’t work anymore. It was time to divide and conquer!
Now some of my inbox’s are conquering me.
Here are 7 things I’m doing to deal with my email overload:
1. Not Over Checking My Email
When I’m having a hard time focusing on my work, this is a huge pitfall. There’s no better way to avoid your work and feel like you’re working than checking your email. I am now more mindful of when the last time I’ve checked my email. I’ve also disabled all of my email notifications. As a blogger, there’s no greater interruption than notifiers!
2. Learning More About My Email Client
I use Gmail, but I’ve had a lot of experience using Outlook. Both of these email clients, as well as the hundreds of others, have cool features. The features are mostly the same, some are unique, but getting to learn past your inbox and outbox is key. Gmail offers all kinds of add-ons that are really handy, as well as other email clients. My personal favorite is “Reply & Archive.” With one click, I swiftly send the email and archive the conversation. Take some time to dig into your email client, you might be surprised what time saving tricks are buried in it. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, you might consider changing email clients.
3. Prioritize & Execute
I usually know if an email is important before I even open it! It’s a good idea to identify emails that need to be dealt with immediately and filter the rest. Folders and tags like, “Follow Up” and “On Hold” can be real lifesavers. Just be sure you check-in to those regularly enough that you don’t miss something important. It’s good to prioritize, but be sure you execute, whether it be now or later.
If you can’t get to something right away (within a day or two), I try to let the sender know. Also, one thing I’m working on is “over thinking.” Just because someone sent me a long message asking forty-million questions, doesn’t mean I have to match the response word for word. Finally, not every email needs to be responded to. As much as it feels like I need to get the last word — “Got it!” “Thank you!” “:D” — maybe I should save everyone’s time.
This has been the number one lifesaver for me. I use tags/folders, but those hard to find emails are usually found by Gmails most awesome search function. Remember, you can even search by name/email and search within specific tags/folders. Many other email clients offer search functions, try using the search function before digging into your email folders — you might be surprised!
6. Streamlining Notifications & Newsletters
I turned off my Twitter notifications. I use enough Twitter clients that I don’t need an email notification. As for newsletters, I’ve setup Gmail to drop those straight into it’s own folder. I want to look at them, but I want to do it when I decide to do it and it helps keep my inbox clutter-free in the meantime.
7. Use a Text Expander (Maybe)
I’m considering using a text expander like this. There are a few things I do that require “canned responses.” As of now, I hack the same message every time — how lame is that!?! In the meantime, I’m going to setup “Drafts” that I can copy and paste. I’ll try that first before running anther app on my machine. If you do any emailing that requires the same types of responses, I would highly recommend doing this. Craft an awesome email and keep it!
These are some of the ideas I’m working with, but I would love to hear some of your ideas — I could really use your help!
Thoughts? Ideas? Tips?
Let’s see them!
[Image via stuartpilbrow]