How To Take Control Of Your Inbox

woman checking email

How To Take Control Of Your Inbox

Guest Article by Rueben Taylor, Business Wealth Educators

Do you ever feel that your inbox is never-ending? Is important work slipping through the cracks because it is lost in all your emails?  Here is a simple formula to manage your inbox so that you can stop emails piling up and get things done.

The first thing you need to do before applying this formula is to set a time to check your emails. Checking emails can be a big time waster.  Don’t do it whenever they pop-up – it distracts you and interferes with the tasks you are trying to accomplish. If you have a pop-up message, switch it off as this reminder to check your email can be a big distraction. Set email checking times that fit your role. Some people need to check email once or twice a day; others only need to check their email twice a week. The key is to set a scheduled time, and stick to it.

There are actually only 4 things you can do with an email. When it is time to check your email apply the following principles and deal with every email in your inbox within the time you have:

1: Delete

If the email is irrelevant, delete it. This is just like putting something that is not important into the bin. For many people, if their inbox was a physical in-tray, we wouldn’t be able to see their desk! Clear away the junk mail, the things you don’t need. Minimise the volume going through your inbox by unsubscribing to stop similar, unwanted emails and newsletters coming in next time. Eliminate them from coming into your inbox in the first place. Get good at deleting: do it quickly.

2: Do It Now!

There are things that are going to take 5 minutes max. It’s actually quicker to deal with them now than to delay. Don’t say you’ll get around to it later. If it’s a meeting request, check your diary, and accept or decline immediately. If someone needs a document, get it off to them. Do it right away.

3: Defer (Do It Later)

These are things that are going to take a lot longer, from ten minutes to a couple of hours. Schedule these tasks for another time – but do it in an organised way that keeps everything you need for the task in one place. You might need to review a proposal:  schedule it in your diary for half an hour on Thursday. With most email programs you can put a copy of that email directly into the appointment, so you can manage it from there.  If you receive reference material, move the email into a folder for reference materials within your email system, flagging it for attention at your scheduled time.

4: Delegate

Are you getting emails that someone else can handle? Who else could be doing that email for you? Delegate these immediately to ensure that the task gets done in time, and your workload is reduced.

Don’t just use your inbox as a repository for information and unwanted emails. Stop losing things in the clutter. Take action: follow these 4D’s for effective inbox management and free up your time and get things done.

For the last 15 years Rueben Taylor has been helping Perth business owners grow their business sustainably, creating strong cashflow and getting it to a stage where it can run smoothly without them.  You can get more tips on how to run a successful business by visiting his website

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