Managing your inbox effectively can be a skill developed over years and years of practice. If you run a business then you need easy, quick and effective tactics for managing your inbox. Read on to learn a few ideas that could help make your day to day email management a breeze!
Your inbox is not the place for storing all your emails!
We come across many customers who have thousands and thousands of emails in their inbox – however you look at it… this is not an effective way of dealing with and storing your emails. Once emails have been dealt with – they should be removed from the inbox.
Create a folder/storage system in your email client.
Whether you are using Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Live Mail or Thunderbird – you will be able to create sub-folders on your inbox. Think of the folders as a digital filing system. As an example my folder structure works something like this:
– Client 1
– Client 2
– Archived Clients
And so on. My system is to ensure that as soon as I have dealt with an email – it gets filed in the appropriate folder. Once a client is not currently active the folder gets moved into the archived clients folder. If they become active again they simply get moved back in to the active clients folder.
Do NOT store your emails in your deleted items (yes I’ve seen that!) – that is just a recipe for disaster!
The 6 D’s for sorting your inbox
I read this one online some time back and thought it was a great idea.
Delete: Every time you read an email, decide if the information is relevant to you. If not then delete it straight away.
Do: If you can do whatever the email is requesting in two minutes , then do it straight away.
Delegate: If it can’t be done in two minutes but you have the option to delegate it then pass it on to someone else. Be sure to follow up later to ensure it is done.
Defer: If you can’t do it immediately but it will take longer than two minutes, pick a time when you can get it done and add it to a to-do list.
Diminish: Cut down your email load by creating rules in your inbox and directing emails to automatically go into different folders
Daily: Get your unread email count down to zero and do it daily!
Other tips to help you get on top of emails
If you are overwhelmed by an inbox with thousands of emails right now…then create a folder called ‘TO BE SORTED’ and put ALL your current emails into that folder. Start with the new rules above on all new emails coming in. Then slowly work to sort out your ‘To be sorted’ folder’.
I had a boss once who was very efficient with following up on emails she had sent and not received a response to. Her tactic was to frequently go through her Sent Items and resend the email to the person if she had not received a response yet.
And Above All – BACKUP YOUR EMAILS!!
Ensure that you have a robust backup solution that is backing up ALL your important files, folders and user profile data. That should include your email files. If you run a business you never know when you will need to refer back to an email so it is of paramount importance to ensure you are backing up. Don’t just assume that by using the built in Windows backup software that your email client files are being backed up. Come