Conquer Email Overload - Some Quick and Simple Solutions
Email is essential to our work, but it can easily become too much of a good thing. Each new message requires attention, and an overstuffed inbox makes it more likely that an important message may get lost in the mix. To conquer email overload, try these simple techniques.
- First, reduce your incoming email. Unsubscribe yourself from mailing lists and promotional emails, or forward your emails to Unsubscribe.com and have it taken care of automatically.
- Some non-essential emails are actually useful. Aggregating and unsubscribing can help you stay on top of them. Receive a daily summary of different coupon offerings from Groupon and the like by using Dealery. Setting up Google Alerts or signing up for The Daily Beast can streamline your updates on news topics of interest; just be sure to unsubscribe to other individual news alerts.
- Any type of email you get with some regularity should have a filter assigned to it. Accounts can be set up to forward emails with certain keywords to an assistant, or provide a specific automated response. Find out what filtering services your email system offers and make the most of them.
- Next comes organization. Take your messages out of your inbox and sort them into folders tailored to your own needs and interests. If you need help, try OtherInbox, which integrates with Gmail, Yahoo, AOL and others. It automatically organizes your messages into folders like “Shopping” and “Business,” and OtherInbox will learn from you; therefore, getting better over time. It also has its own unsubscribe service.
- Take away the need for people to email you in the first place by answering questions ahead of time. Try including an FAQ section on your website, or putting relevant information in your signature.
- You might also use your email signature to state that you only check your email once a day. Leave instructions for how to reach you if the matter is urgent. AwayFind, for example, creates an emergency contact page that routes messages to you by voice or text.
- Finally, don't put off taking action on your emails. The old advice of "handle it once" for printed mail and memos can be applied to digital correspondence. The more quickly you can respond to what's truly important, the less of an email overload you will have to contend with later.
Key takeway: Take action on one of these each week to manage your email inbox.