Nobody likes a disorganised inbox. I don’t even like it when my spam folder has numbers next to the link. When it really starts to get out of control and you have triple or quadruple figures in your unread messages pile, it can cause feelings of hopelessness, particularly before that first coffee of the day.
Here are some ways to get back to inbox zero.
- Work on it when you can – Got a spare minute? Don’t check Facebook while in a queue at the supermarket, start getting through the backlog. Start with the ones you know are pointless from the subject line.
- Answer emails at a set time – Make sure that you take the time to reply to emails as they come in. Set some specific time aside to check them over. The 15 minutes straight after lunch could be a good one.
- Delete when you can – If an email comes in that is obviously not worth your time, delete it straightaway.
- Shorter and sweeter – If it’s just a quick response required, do it now and not later. No need for an essay when a haiku will do.
- Newsletters? – Do you really need to be subscribed to all those newsletters? Probably not, so go through and unsubscribe from the ones you don’t read/value. Try unroll.me to get rid of them more easily.
- On holiday? Off emails – When you set up your out of office reply, give yourself an extra day to get through the emails you’ve received while you were off. Make sure that you don’t check them when you’re on holiday! Take the week off!
- Be decisive – Don’t send open-ended emails unless you have to. Try face-to-face or a phone call where you can to save on pointless back and forth.
- Sack it all off – Can’t cope? Just archive them all. If it was important, they’ll email you back anyway.