Overwhelmed by consistent emails, a messy inbox and the urge to respond immediately? Don’t worry – you’re not the only one. It’s time to take back your precious time and address your inbox with a little mindfulness.
Let me ask this one question first. How often do you check your emails a day?
Like you I bet it was more than five times in a day. Six months I was checking my inbox first thing in the morning, after breakfast, again when I logged into my inbox, then again around lunch and well again just because and it goes on into the night. It was sucking up my energy.
I was consumed by what was happening in my inbox and wasn’t observing what was around me. I started missing out on little moments; I was wasting time and just felt overwhelmed by a list of emails that needed attention.
Needless to say it was time to detox my inbox and bring awareness around how I use it.
According to Carleton University researchers, people who work from home spend half of their day reading and answering emails. No wonder we feel like we are not getting ahead.
When faced with the desire to check your inbox, you need to start ask yourself:
Do I really need to check my email right now?
Why am I getting so many emails?
Why have I forgotten to respond to some emails?
Let’s take this opportunity to go over six ways you can detox your inbox so that you can improve your wellbeing and don’t feel like your inbox owns you.
Six tips to detox your inbox right now:
Inbox Audit – Delete, remove and unsubscribe
Go through all the emails you are receiving and take time to evaluate the ones that are actually serving you right now. Unsubscribe from email lists that don’t interest you anymore or that you never open. Email PR companies that have added you to their list and ask to be removed if the information that they are delivering to you is not relevant. Make sure spam is going into your spam folder.
Treat your inbox like a filing cabinet
Set up folders to file away emails that don’t need to be sitting in your inbox. Once you have replied to someone, the email does not need to stay in your inbox. Keeping only fresh emails in your inbox is less overwhelming than having hundreds sitting in there at a time. You may also find it useful to assign folders for your incoming emails, knowing which folder to tackle first when responding.
You should respond to your emails immediately so that you can remove that email from your inbox. But this does not mean you should be checking your emails every ten minutes. Schedule in a maximum of three sessions a day dedicated to email responding.
Answer emails concisely
When responding to emails it is best to answer them straight to the point. Give clear answers and provide as much information as necessary so you can minimize future email correspondence. When you respond clearly and concisely you will no doubt also get a response of a similar nature in return.
Don’t leave them hanging
Never leave an open-ended question in your email – it just begs for a response and for the conversation to continue. Questions lengthen communication. However, if you need to ask questions do so by thinking it through clearly and adding any additional questions in bullet form. This makes it easy to spot and answer them. Often people will reply by copying/pasting the bullet points, which makes finding your answers easier too. Is there a better method for the conversation
Is there a better method for the conversation
Often emails are unavoidable, but sometimes the conversation could be solved with a ten-minute phone call. This could save loads of time for you. You may like to have a personal conversation to figure out the details by organizing one meeting to address any questions instead of reading and responding to a string of five emails
By applying these six tips to your inbox and creating new daily habits that support a harmonious relationship with your inbox will leave you with more time to do more of what you love.