Organizing your inbox boosts productivity
Although email is a vital communication tool for any business, inboxes can become disorganized very quickly. Furthermore, managing a messy inbox during your workday can be counterproductive. In fact, 53% of surveyed workers say emails get in the way of their work, and 60% say that the time they devote to emails could be spent more productively.1 That’s why learning how to clean up your email inbox will help you and your workers boost productivity throughout the day.
Take a look at our tips:
1. Check your inbox less
Frequently checking your inbox can waste time and interrupt your workflow. Try blocking off 2 to 3 time slots each day—half an hour in the morning and another half hour in the afternoon and/or evening— to limit these checks.2 By spending less time in your inbox, you’ll have more time for your main tasks, while still being able to keep up with your emails.
2. Only archive important emails
It might be tempting to create multiple categories and folders to better organize your inbox. However, you’ll just end up spending more time sorting every email into the right folder. Instead, streamline this strategy by dividing your inbox into 2 groups: unread emails and important emails.3 Create a single archive for all your important emails, and leave unread emails in your inbox so you can address them when needed. This simpler method will minimize the time you spend reading emails, while maximizing efficiency.
3. Use your inbox search bar
To use your search bar optimally, try typing in these keywords to quickly find the email you’re looking for:
- Name or email address of the sender
- Text that appears in the subject line or body of the email
- File types of any attachments in the email (PDF, Zip, JPEG and so on)3
4. Respond as soon as possible
It’s always better to respond to important emails sooner rather than later. The more you wait, the more likely your emails will start to pile up, so you’ll spend more time responding to them later on.
5. Delete anything over a month old
It’s likely that any email you haven’t archived that’s over 30 days old isn’t important. If you have a lot of these emails, deleting them manually might take too much time, so try these mass deletion shortcuts instead:
6. Always avoid task management
Don’t use your inbox as a task management tool. It might be tempting to organize your emails into a to-do list for yourself or your workers. However, your inbox isn’t designed for task management. The more you use your inbox as a task management tool, the higher the chance you’ll end up spending a lot more time organizing emails compared to a dedicated tool designed for task management.
7. Hire a Virtual Assistant
If you don’t have time to try any of our tips, or if you’ve tried them and find you’re still spending way too many hours in your inbox, then consider hiring a Virtual Assistant (VA). A VA who manages your inbox and organizes it in a way that suits your needs lets you focus on your daily tasks. Additionally, VAs also provide other administrative services such as scheduling appointments, making calls, bookkeeping and planning travel arrangements. Hiring a VA might be the right solution for you if you simply can’t afford to spend time checking your inbox. At the same time, you’ll have a remote assistant who will be able to solve other administrative needs.
With our tips, you’re all set to spend as little time as possible managing your inbox, leaving you to dedicate the rest of your workday to more pressing tasks. By implementing these strategies for your employees as well, the hours they spend checking their inboxes is sure to go down.