Awesome, you're back from spring break or your family vacation! Welcome to work. Here are 348 emails to respond to. They're all marked "urgent." Good luck!
Sound familiar? The grind of the daily email inbox woes is a typical experience for modern workers; we often email rather than walking down the hall to get a question answered. Email isn't always the most efficient mode of communication, but besides texting, it's probably the most popular. It's tempting to declare email bankruptcy and just erase all those unread emails—but that's not a real-world solution. Here are a few solutions that could help you dig out of the mess and stay on top.
1. Clear It All Out
This is the most daunting but perhaps most important part of reclaiming your inbox. Start with the easy ones: the ones you know you'll never read and don't need (like those discounted flights to tropical destinations—maybe next year). Archive emails you don't need to open but will need later, like receipts; no need to spend time opening these.
Next, start by sorting you remaining unopened emails into folders or prioritizing with your email server's starring feature. This will help you respond to the most important ones first.
2. Unsubscribe Me—Now
Are you receiving hundreds of emails a week—or a day—that you'll never open? Unsubscribe from those lists now. Your blood pressure will thank you. There are online programs you can choose to help you quickly unsubscribe from lists, or you can use your email server's unsubscribe functions.
3. Consolidate Your Inboxes
Don't waste your time checking multiple email addresses—consolidate them all to one inbox and keep them together. Today's email servers make it easy to route different addresses to the same location, and even allow you to reply from different email addresses.
4. Sort for the Future
Finally, get your folders and sorting "rules" in place to help you stay on top in the future. Want to keep all Amazon receipts, but not have to see them in your inbox? Have your email server automatically route them to a folder. Want to see emails from your boss and mom first? Mark those as "important" for future routing. This kind of work will keep your inbox stress-free.
For more office hacks, check out our blog.