All those things seem to get buried by coupons that are a one day only event, people ensuring you they're going to promote your website and make you rich, and penis enlargement pills. If you believe any of these emails, you're going to be sorely disappointed, by the way.
In theory, I strive for inbox zero. In practice...let's just say I need more practice. I used to be the type that would have thousands of emails in my inbox, because sorting through and deleting would take time, and I might miss something important. And that's what that search bar is for, right?
The problem was, I was incredibly overwhelmed every time I opened the browser tab or app on my phone. I stopped opening the app on my phone because I didn't want to wait for the five hundred damn emails to download. Then I heard about "Inbox Zero" and cracked up. Who could possibly do that and maintain it? Well...turns out a lot of people.
I'm no expert in managing emails, and there are weeks where I give in to overwhelm and stop checking the inbox totally, before I dig myself out again later. However, I have hit inbox zero a few times, and working email time into my morning routine is next on my productivity adventure.
Here are my top 5 Do's and Don'ts for dealing with Emails
1. Do start with realistic expectations. If you have ten thousand emails, you're not going to get them sorted in one day. But if you vow to delete fifty every time you log in to your email, they widdle down fast. Pick a number that works for you and stick to it. If you get lots of spam, vow to get through all your new emails, and then tackle a specific number from the very bottom of the page at the same time.
2. Don't open spam from stores. Unless you are in need of products, or you're planning a shopping trip and are looking for a coupon, your store is not sending you anything but a temptation to head to their online shop and get lost. I stopped opening emails from my favorite shops, and I swear, I saved so much damn time it was embarrassing. Just look at the sender, know it's not something you need right now, and hit delete.
3. Do unsubscribe from lists you're no longer interested in. Our whims change, and if you find yourself deleting newsletters or updates from online groups every time they come in, get off the list and quit clogging your inbox. You can always sign up again later. They won't hold it against you.
4. Don't have email notifications on your smart phone. This is one I recently adopted. I was spending far too much time popping in on my inbox because there was a little notification, then I'd check a few more things "While I was there..." It's a time suck. You have precious few moments away from your screen. If someone needs you that desperately. Have them text you.
5. Do a bulk delete. If you're starting this quest for inbox zero and your email is at 10k, 20k, or more...there is something to be said for a "malfunction". Hit select all, and delete everything. There is nothing in your email that can't be resent, or found elsewhere on line when you actually need it. There's not. Unless you have a relative that passed and you want those last communications with them, in which case, do a search for that name, print them off or tuck them in a folder and continue on. I have a few folders in my inbox where I keep things I might need to reference for tax or legal reasons, and there are also folders for sentimental things. I have all the threads from my first acceptance emails at Samhain Publishing where I can pop in and remember the giddy feelings of my first "yes". But those aren't in my main inbox. And if you're not sure if anything in there is important, you won't miss it when it's gone, because you never knew it was there to begin with.
I found this quick video below with some ways to shorten email time as well. But the main thing he talks about that I agree with is scheduling in your email time. Don't look at it five and six times a day. Leave yourself a note on something you need to send, and do all of your replies at once.
It's easy to fall into emails as a time suck, because we want to stay on top of it, or we're looking for an excuse not to fold the six loads of laundry on our bed. I've been guilty of both ends of the spectrum depending on the day. And while I'd love to stay here and chat, it's my time to head over and get my emails done.
What tips and tricks do you use to manage the onslaught of digital junk mail? Share them below, because I know we all deal with this.