I’ve heard the term ‘inbox zero’ bandied around for a bit, turns out it has nothing to do with the number of emails in your inbox but rather the amount of time you spend in your inbox, for example, checking and responding to email and the impact that process has on your productivity.
Our email challenge though focuses only on the quantity of emails and how you organise messages. Are we advocating zero messages in your inbox? Of course not, but if you’re looking for better ways to manage your email, this challenge is for you.
First a few questions:
-How many email addresses do you use?
-How many emails are in your inbox right now?
-How do you determine what gets deleted and when?
-What’s your system to ‘organise’ your emails?
I have one shared, one personal and three work/business related email addresses. I check all but the shared one daily (and yes several times a day). From a low of 30 emails to hundreds I couldn’t begin to count, the quantity of emails varies greatly between the five addresses, but these are my personal strategies for managing information:
1. I save messages to a relevant folder on the desktop. Side bar- I am the folder queen when it comes to organising files, so saving emails to the folder for the same topic area, e.g. a vendor or business function, is a no-brainer for me. Also, be as descriptive as possible in your naming of the email, otherwise you end up with several files called ‘_Eml.
2. I set the maximum number of emails I want to keep in the inbox depending on the email address. There is no method to my madness here, but when one of my business emails gets to 50 I start deleting, moving or saving messages. Another business email address has a maximum of 300 (again just a mental maximum) and not one single folder, but somehow that works.
3. Pin reference content. This can go hand-in-hand with saving messages, but I find Pinterest useful for the ‘ideas’ stuff whereas the saving is for the more private, practical stuff.
4. I use folders and even sub-folders (ok only sometimes).
The House That Clutter Built shares some useful tips on treating email like hard copy mail here:http://thehousethatclutterbuilt.com/2013/03/09/organizing-all-of-that-email/
Michael Hyatt gives some practical advice on using email filters, shortcuts and other tech tools to stay on top of email here: http://michaelhyatt.com/yes-you-can-stay-on-top-of-email.html
And if you’d rather not read, check out this three-minute clip that also covers organising snail mail too:http://on.today.com/1BkInwT
Share your progress (and your photos)!
While we’re on the topic of electronic clutter, how are your browser bookmarks and computer desktop looking?