How many emails do you currently have in your inbox? More than three screen’s full? That is too many and might be an indication of email overload. Your inbox should be your ‘work in progress’ folder. It is not just a general dumping ground rather like either the spare room or ‘round to it’ folder.
A clean inbox is a win-win way to reduce email overload related stress because it is easier to:
Hence you can save time dealing with your (and the boss’s) inbox and therefore improve your performance and well-being. Here are five tips to help you clean up your inbox ready for the Easter break and subsequently reduce email overload on your return. They do not form a sequence, rather they are individual tips; you can of course either use them all or just choose which suit you best.
If you are having time off, remember to set an Out of Office message which reduces the risk of email borne cyber crime and improves compliance to to the GDPR. And when all else fails you could always declare email bankruptcy.
Still need help with email management to reduce email overload? Call us now to ask about Mesmo Consultancy’s Smart Email Management workshops and coaching programmes.
There is a huge stress (associated) with disorganisation and there is also a cost to being disorganised. Carolee Cannata
Mental health issues are often exacerbated by stress at work. Email overload is a major source of stress. The real work of reducing email overload starts today. Having cleared out all the old emails, the goal is keep the inbox clean. Develop the habit of handling each email once and only once. This will help you reduce the email related stress and improve your well-being and mental health.
Use the Ds principle as you open each email:
Never, never open an email and then close it without taking action. This just wastes time as you then go back and forth re-reading emails.
Develop a process for you for making sure you keep tabs on those emails which still need action. For example, create a task, add a flag, move them to a ‘Pending’ folder. What ever happens don’t just leave them lying around in your inbox.
Tomorrow we look at how to reduce the volume of email traffic through your inbox.
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Business email overload remains one of the top ten causes of stress. It saps our performance and well-being. As part of Mental Health Awareness Week we are posting a series of daily tips and strategies to help you clean out your inbox and reduce the email related stress. We thank the Mental Health Foundation for their support.
Day 1 – Why Bother?
Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed. Peter Drucker
Why bother to take time to clean out your inbox? Primarily, because email overload is expensive.
Email overload means our potential to be productive and creative is significantly reduced. The starting point for Cleaning Out Your Inbox is to assess just how much time you can save by cleaning out your inbox this week.
Step 1 – Check the Cost of Email Overload to yourself and your business
Use our Cost of Email Misuse Calculator and dare to share the results – see below.
Step 2 – Weigh in
Step 3 – Move all those emails over 10 days old out of your inbox into a folder.
They are long since dead and if they are not you can be sure the sender will re-contact you.
Step 4 – Set yourself SMART goals for the week and plan how they will be achieved.
For example, do you want to find ways to spend less time dealing with email and more on revenue generating tasks, reduce the volume of emails you receive, find ways to stop people expecting an instant reply etc.
If these tips are helpful why not cajole other colleagues to join you?
About to take a few days out of the office? Here are give top tips to avoid coming back to a chronic attack of business email overload.
You should just be left with emails needing attention on your return. You could be bold and move these too into a folder ‘awaiting action’. Now you have an empty inbox. How does that feel? To keep the inbox clean and de-cluttered see item 4.
Now go off and relax safe in the knowledge that you have taken adequate precautions to reduce a chronic attack of business email overload.
One way to boost our will power and focus is to manage our distractions instead of letting them manage us.
Are you distracted by each and every new email as it arrives in your inbox? Over the last few weeks it amazed us as to how many people still have all those new email alerts turned on. The reasons why range from ‘we are acting for clients in the middle of a merger’ to ‘my boss will ask for more coffee during a meeting’. The latter might just be valid, but and it’s a big but, often better decisions are made given a little extra time and space to think. Ever looked back and thought if only?
As to the second reason, can the boss not phone, walk to their PAs office? Would not any self respecting PA check on such matters during important meetings?
We live in an age of instant gratification so the faster we reply the better we feel. Or do we? Constant distractions have been shown irrevocably to reduce our performance. Moreover our brain becomes re-wired to think tactically and we lose the ability to think strategically. This is one of the first major challenges facing Sophie in Dr Seeley’s new book Taking Control of Your Inbox. Max the email genie from the Clean Inbox Kingdom provide some solutions.
Clients who have switched off all the new email alerts are always amazed at how much more they achieve in a day. As one client said last week – ‘you made me realise that the inbox is no more than a post box. When ready I will go and see that the postman has for me’.
For more help to take control of your day why not invest in a copy of Taking Control of Your Inbox (and life)?