Managing Your eMail Inbox

I am sure you have heard the reports that the average business person is receiving 470 emails every week, and is spending up to 15 hours a week just trying to get through the inbox. This doesn’t count the time spent doing any actual work on what has come in.

If you do the math (and I did), that is up to 19-1/2 weeks just sorting through the inbox. That is just crazy!

So, what to the rest of us do? Because I am definitely NOT going to be spending 19-1/2 weeks in my inbox this year.

First, set up a time to check your email. Disable the automatic send/receive, or disable the automatic notifier – so you won’t get sucked into the vortex. Then, during the scheduled time – motor through your inbox using the following steps:

Divert – set up rules for various types of email that you don’t need to see right away. For example – newsletters you have subscribed to, or mail from the one person who still insists on sending you the joke (or hoax) of the day. Send them all into their own folder (or the trash), and check them when you can.

Read and delete (or file) – look to see how much of your messages are just something you need to read and can then just file or delete. No response is required. No further action is required.

Read and respond – some messages can be dealt with quickly. You don’t need any more information, you can just respond and move on. Do that.

Read and schedule for future action – then there are those that need some further action. So, either file in your ‘to be scheduled’ folder, or go ahead and schedule it, and then you are done with it until the time arrives to act.

I’ve been doing this for years. I get 70-100 emails every day. I spend about 30 minutes a day going through the inbox, and it is empty when I am done with that time block.

Even if you only add one of these steps to your routine, it will make a difference.