19 Dec Article: 5 tips to make your email inbox much more manageable
I wrote this article that originally appeared on the BellMTS Business Hub blog. Writing on various business topics, I like to keep keenly aware of the landscape in many different industries. You can find this and more articles written by me on the BellMTS Business Hub.
For the business professional, email is integral to your day — but managing it can quickly become a tiresome hassle. Clicking in and out of your inbox can feel like a momentum-stealing exercise and make you think you’re completing everyone’s tasks except your own.
The truth is that it’s normal to feel overwhelmed or annoyed by email management. For instance, based on a recent survey on workplace communication, 47 per cent of people believe that the majority of all their work emails are “irrelevant” and therefore clutter.
Want to make the most of your inbox and stay at the height of your output? Here are five tips to help you manage your inbox and improve your productivity.
1. Stick to a schedule
This is an easy one that will likely be habit-forming for you. Set aside time specifically for email, and email only. It’s easy to get into the vortex of checking your inbox every time an email arrives, or when your phone buzzes with a notification.
Before you jump to reply, make sure you read the subject line (and look at the sender) to ensure it’s not an urgent request, then leave it unopened until your designated time to handle email. Non-urgent messages that you cannot finish in the allotted time can wait until the next day. This takes judgement and practice to ensure you can do your job as required, but it will ease your mind and make you more productive.
Science agrees with this method, too. According to neuroscientists at Stanford, switching between tasks too often (like constantly checking email while working on something else) makes people feel dizzy and overtired. Instead, checking your email three times a day — once at the beginning of your shift, once midday and once at the end of the day — might provide a better balance.