How to productively manage your inbox and get through your emails quickly
In recent months, I’ve been so busy with other projects (all of which I’m eternally grateful for!) that I’ve had a hard time keeping up with my emails. I was finding it increasingly more difficult to sit down and respond. I was constantly thinking about everything at once.
Not to mention I don’t just have one inbox. I manage about 8 email accounts from 5 different businesses plus my personal emails. It felt like I was drowning. Some people are okay having unread messages, the red circle of death I call it, but not me. I try to keep it under 300 emails unread minimum but usually under 100. That’s my goal. Some of my friends have thousands of unread emails. That would give me so much anxiety.
I implemented some things to get me on track and help me get through my inbox.
Check out my 6 steps to productively manage your inbox and get through your emails quickly
1. Schedule a time to check your emails every day
If it doesn’t get scheduled, it doesn’t get done. I believe this to be very true in my own experience. If something is on the calendar, it’s more likely to get done. I personally set the time twice a day to check my emails. Once in the morning and again in the evening.
Tired of checking your emails at midnight before bed and feeling behind? Schedule time to get it done to prevent this.
TIP: Don’t leave your email up where you can see it. From my experience every time I see a new email I want to respond. Thus taking away time from things that need to get done.
2. Set a timer
There are so many time management tools out there. I personally use the Pomodoro method. Set an alarm for 25 minutes then race to see how many I can get through in that time period. You can also ask Alexa to set a timer or you can set one on your phone. Once your time is up it’s time to move on to the next item on your to-do list.
I’m telling you, this is a game-changer. Especially if you have ADHD like I do this will significantly increase your productivity.
3. Check your emails from your desktop
If you’re like me, any downtime you have, you try to work and get stuff done. I used to go through my emails on my phone but it ended up taking more time than helping. A tip that has helped me is randomly moving the apps around on your phone. Our brains are used to habits, and we have the habit of checking our emails from our phones. The brain knows what buttons and where to look, but switching it causes us to search.
4. Start from the bottom + Do not cherry-pick
I’m guilty of this and it’s a huge time suck because you end up opening the same email about 3 times. The oldest emails get answered first. Just go up the list. Do not pick and choose which emails to answer first. You’ll just end up wasting more time. If it’s an email that you have been dreading to respond to, just respond! Trust me you will feel so much better not having it in your inbox and on your mind.
5. Join a spam filter service like unroll.me
Unfortunately, I heard this service actually sells your email address which causes more junk. But the truth is, it’s free, and I like their service too much to let it go. It puts the emails you’ve subscribed to into one email called a “roll-up” you get once a week and lets you unsubscribe from junk mail with one click. Hello time saver!
6. Utilize your draft email folder
If you constantly get emails asking for free promotion, collabs, contributing writers, etc. whatever it is and you are constantly writing the same email back to these requests then you need a draft template for these responses. You can always customize the response to each sender and situation but at least you’ll have a starting place that will save you some time constructing a reply.
I used to get super bummed when my inbox would overflow with emails. I’m too controlling to give up control to my assistant so I knew I’d be stuck answering them all. But I’ve since changed my perspective because emails are from people that like you or want to work with you which equals money! So I knew that by answering emails I’d be growing my business and that excited me. The potential for new partnerships. So now, emails make me happy, instead of being that mooch of a roommate who doesn’t pay the rent and eats all your food.