02 Jul 2013

How to achieve inbox harmony

For some of us, there’s nothing worse than opening up your email inbox and seeing hundreds of unanswered messages that will take hours to sort through. Who do you respond to first? But most importantly, how do you minimise the time email takes out of your day, and experience the zen of “inbox-zero”?

Use email sparingly

The best way to avoid receiving unwanted email is not to send it, and to foster a culture around sane email use in your company. Does that person really need to be cc’d?

Labels and folders

Have a system of labels and folders set up for filing email as it comes in, and use it. This way, when email arrives, there’s somewhere for you to put it after it’s been read. It also makes it easier to find at a later date.

Out with the old

Archive your emails regularly, so that old emails that you don’t need immediate access to aren’t clogging up your inbox and top-level folders.

Filter your messages

Are you on a lot of mailing lists that are occasionally useful, but don’t need to be actioned every time they come in? Set up automatic filters using the “from” field to have these filed away some place other than your inbox.

Have separate accounts

Maintain separate work and personal accounts, and be ruthless with what you’ll let into your work one – there’s nothing worse than emails from coupon providers, daily specials and a websites you’ve only ever visited once clogging it up.

Have a “to-do” folder

This is vital, because it’s a place to put the things that would otherwise be hanging over you. This is a short-term storage place for emails that need actioning in the next few hours or days. Don’t let it fill up either.

Robin Marchant is Brennan IT’s National Marketing Manager.