With the holidays here, many of us are taking time off and putting our email inboxes on vacation mode. Once we get back however, that email inbox may be overflowing with hundreds of messages. Not only can it be overwhelming, but it can also take up a lot of time reading through them once you’re back in the office. In the first part of our two-part article, we take a look at how to reduce the amount of emails you receive.
Keep It Under Control
When you’re out of the office for vacation, let everyone know you’ll be out. Set up an auto-respond message that tells everyone who emails you that you are gone for a period of time. Write in the response message, the date and time you’ll be away and when you will be returning. If you normally get a high volume of messages a day, be sure to let people know that. You may also want to write in your message that it may take you a few days to respond because of the high volume of emails you receive.
Set a Simple Goal for Yourself
Setting a goal can make tackling your inbox easier. One daily goal you may want to try is to always be able to see the bottom of your inbox. In other words, you want to be able to see entries for the most recently received message and oldest message in a single screen. This may not be possible everyday, but it’s a start.
Get Rid of Spam
It is unlikely work emails are the only messages overloading your inbox. The other thing that may be taking up all that space in your inbox is spam. While it seems impossible to get rid of, there are a lot of techniques you can use to keep it at a minimum. First make sure you know which messages were sent directly to you and not to a mailing list by turning on personal level indicators in Google or coloring them in Outlook. There are several other email filters and tools you can use. Next, you can avoid incoming spam by filtering the word “unsubscribe,” and filter future spam by unsubscribing to those emails. You can also add a few extra filters to make sure you don’t receive the spam messages in your regular inbox.
Set a Schedule
Not every email needs your undivided attention. Consider scheduling a time during the day where all you do is go through emails that aren’t urgent and then organize them in your inbox. Taking that hour “off” to only focus on your inbox can help you gain control of your inbox and lessen that overwhelming feeling.
Check back with us next week when we tackle the second part of our two-part article on “How to Avoid Email Overload.” We’ll give you more useful tips on how to keep your email inbox organized.
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Photo Credit: Bobbie