ou’re really going to hate me when I tell you this but I finish most work days with an Inbox Zero. An Inbox Zero is an email inbox with zero or very few emails in it. My brother in law has an Inbox 63,567. Which is totally fine because he’s not losing any sleep over it. I am but that’s not the point. *reminds self that other people’s inboxes are out of my control* Any kind of system that you’re comfortable with is great for inbox management but if you have an email account that’s bursting at the seams and it makes you want to cry a little bit, I’ve got a few tips for you.
Make friends with Unroll.me
This is my most favourite thing that’s ever happened on the internet including this guy. I’m terrible at unsubscribing from emails because it’s annoying and I have to click through things and sometimes leave feedback which is almost more annoying that just deleting the damn email. With unroll.me you can unsubscribe from dozens of email list with one click. It’s so much easier to keep your inbox empty if you aren’t deleting twenty unread emails every time you open your inbox.
Only open emails you really have to open
There’s no law that says you have to open every single email you receive. If you get a letter in the mail that says Dear Resident on the front with lots of dollar sign pictures all over it, would you waste your time opening it? I wouldn’t. I apply the same thing to emails. If I see an email that comes from someone I’ve never heard of, the subject line is questionable and the first two words of the email are ‘Hi there!’… I won’t open it. If someone is contacting you for a legitimate reason, they’ll say so in the subject line. Only dodgy people are elusive. Delete it. If you delete something important (which you probably won’t) that person will get in contact with you again. I promise.
Use your waiting time
If you’re waiting in line at the post office, resist the urge to check Instagram and deal with a few emails instead. Answer any under-two-minute-reply emails whenever you have a spare second. The limitations of replying on your phone will force you to be brief and concise, which is a huge time saver for you and the person reading your email. iPhones also leave a note at the bottom of the email that will tell the receiver that the message was written on an iPhone – people are usually more forgiving of brief replies if they come from a mobile phone.
Archive every day
You need to think of your inbox as a physical desk top and your archives as your filing cabinet. If you’re finished with a file, you put it away in the filing cabinet. If you’re finished with an email conversation, put it in your archives. If the person replies, it will just come straight back into your inbox. There’s nothing to be gained from having it sitting right there where you can see it every time you open your inbox.
Stop romanticising emails
Unless you are actually proposing to someone via email (and I strongly recommend you don’t do that) there’s no reason to go all Hemingway on every email you send. 90% of emails can be deleted or replied to in two minutes and the rest, you can spend a bit more time on. Focus 90% of your energy on the top 10% of your most important emails and deal with the rest as quickly as possible.
What does inbox look like? Empty inbox? Or the type of inbox that would give me nightmares?
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