Email has allowed us to send and receive messages more easily than ever before. While this is a good thing, it can also lead to problems. We regularly see people that receive dozens or even hundreds of emails in a day. At this point, it can feel like you’re wasting your entire day dealing with those incoming messages.
Even worse, it makes it difficult to find important messages in your Inbox. You can quickly become overloaded with emails, especially as it is estimated that over 70% of global email is actually ‘Spam’ emails.
So how can we deal with this overload? The first step is to reduce the number of emails you receive overall and then do what few people do – manage what you keep in your Inbox! There are a few ways to do this.
Don’t just delete Spam emails – mark them as Spam first.
We have found that most people just delete spam emails when they receive them, which is the wrong thing to do, as you need to mark them as spam to get them rerouted or blocked altogether. If you don’t, emails from that address will just keep on coming.
Whether you are using an email program or just getting your email through a web browser, if you get a spam email, mark it as spam. That way your email program will automatically put it straight into your ‘Junk’ email folder and your email company will do the same if you are using an internet browser.
Restrict who you give your email address to.
Many people have at least two email addresses – one for everyday use for family and friends and one that they use just for giving to companies that they do business with. For instance, it can be useful to give a separate email address when buying things, such as at shops or online, because that way your personal (or business) email address doesn’t get so cluttered with commercial emails trying to sell you something.
Don’t forget that many companies also sell on your email address to their ‘selected partners’ that you have never dealt with before, so you may get even more emails from companies you have never even heard of.
It’s important to think carefully about who you give your email address to. For example, if you enter a lot of contests, this often automatically subscribes you to several email campaigns. If you type your email into every popup box asking for it, these add up. Reduce who you give your email to.
Go through your Inbox and unsubscribe to newsletters that you never read. If you haven’t opened one of their emails in months, chances are that you’re probably not going to start to any time soon. Similarly, if you are getting emails that you are not interested in any more, unsubscribe – it should only take seconds to do.
Turn off notifications from social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest – if you like emails from these networks, then at least adjust the settings so they email you highlights once a week or month rather than allowing them to spam your Inbox several times per day.
Do you need that notification?
If you receive emails that contain information that you can find elsewhere, switch those notifications off. For instance, you might run an e-commerce website that sends an email for every sale. If your website already has a record of this, you don’t need it in two places.
Make sure not to use your email as a to-do list. When you need to remember to do something, put that on a list elsewhere such as an online calendar, to help clear up your Inbox. If this is a hard habit to break, at least make a folder for things you need to do and move emails there and out of your general Inbox.
Change your email habits
Change your own email sending habits. If a topic is complex and will require a lot of back and forth conversation, consider discussing it in person or over the phone. Sending fewer emails will reduce how many you receive in return. Remember that you don’t need to respond to every email you receive. A response indicates a willingness to continue to conversation.
Resist the urge to send messages with a single word like “Thanks!” or “Ok” and you’ll notice others will stop sending you similar, unnecessary messages. When sending group emails, you can also remind others not to use “reply all” unless it’s information relevant to the entire group.
Start clearing emails out
This is the big one, that everyone just keeps putting off!
Start emptying out your Inbox and getting rid of any old emails you don’t need to keep. Using the word “need” is deliberate – you have to be selective about the emails that you keep. Delete old calendar invites, advertisements, or any emails where the problem has already been resolved. Respond to any messages that can be answered within only a few minutes.
Archive messages where you can so they are not clogging up your main Inbox – you can search and find these later if necessary – this has an added bonus because it can actually speed up Outlook if your archive folder is not open all the time. Put other emails into folders based on the type of email and the priority level.
From now on, all of this can be automated. You can have receipts automatically go into a receipt folder, calendar invites go into another, etc. A cluttered inbox can lead to your mind feeling just as cluttered so free up your Inbox to create more time for yourself. Let email overload become something of the past.
If you need help with your emails, give us a call on 01455 209505.