Email… you love what it lets you do. You can instantly reach out and touch just about anyone in the world that you want to. They can get back with you instantly. You don’t have to waste time on phone calls or person-to-person meetings. However, this amazing technology can become a time-stealing, headache-causing nightmare if you let it. You need to know how to manage your email. Practice the following tips and strategies to take control of your email experience, rather than letting it control you.
1 – Stop saying yes to every free email opt-in report
There is nothing wrong with subscribing to an email list in order to get a free tool or report. However, this can get out of hand, cramming your email in-box with dozens or hundreds of posts each week. Be selective about which email lists you join and stay on. Reducing your email is a key step when you want to manage your email.
You should, however, never pass up an opportunity to opt in to my list and get my freebies!
2 – Clear out your emails once a week
Make it a practice to unsubscribe from lists you never read. There are probably those emails that you instantly delete without reading, once you see who they are from. Unsubscribe from these email lists, picking one day a week to handle this task.
3 – Manage your email with technology
The email scheduling tool for Gmail called Boomerang can improve your communication skills and help you manage your in-box. SaneBox (catchy name which promises to return your email sanity), Unroll.me, FollowUpThen, IFTTT, Google Inbox and Sortd are just a few of the many excellent email management tools out there. Try a few of them and decide which one does the best job helping you to manage your email.
4 – Use the filters, rules, labels, etc. offered by your email provider
Every email service has built-in tools to make interacting with your email as headache-free as possible. Look through the list to see what rules are helpful to you. You may find a rule that provides a solution to a problem so common you didn’t even know you could solve it. And re-think your rules every once in a while. Your needs may change or you may find that you need to tweak some of your earlier decisions.
5 — Follow the deal-with-it-once rule
When you decide to open an e-mail, read it, respond to it, and delete or archive it. Deal with it once and be done with it. Don’t read it and let it sit in your inbox while you plan to get back to it later, which you never do. If you simply can’t process it immediately (because it’s an assignment from your boss, say, and you’ll need more time to complete it than you have available), then schedule the task and put the email in your “To Do” folder.
Email is a wonderful tool. But treat it that way. Don’t let it be your master.
Do you love email or hate it? How do you tame the beast? Let us know in the comments below.
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