Take charge of your email inbox with these tips and tricks

By Noelle Woon

Nobody likes a cluttered inbox on a Monday morning.

It’s easy to get swamped by email at work. From clients to team meetings, project updates to newsletters, your email inbox can be full of clutter. Having a cluttered mailbox may not be a big problem, but it becomes an issue when it gets in the way of keeping up with your tasks.

With an overwhelming amount of new mail each day, sorting out your email often becomes an “I’ll get to that later” task. You might think that sorting out your email is pointless because your mailbox is going to get cluttered again later. Here’s the good news though, by making a few tweaks to your email habits, you can completely take charge of your mailbox. That’s right - you don’t have to face an overwhelming inbox each day if you implement these tips and tricks:

Don’t default to email

A great way to reduce the amount of email coming your way is to consciously send less email on your end. Many times, we send out lots of unnecessary emails, causing an influx of low-importance email flooding our mailboxes. Before you decide to shoot your colleague an email, think about whether you can simply settle the matter over a quick chat.

Resist staying on your email all the time

Here’s the truth about work emails: it will never end. You will always be getting new emails. Oftentimes, emails can be a real distraction from real work. By checking your email constantly, you break your focus and workflow, causing you to spend more time replying to emails than getting on top of your tasks.

A way to combat this is to be disciplined about when you check your emails. Don’t set your mailbox as your default screen. Instead, set hourly reminders to check your emails and give yourself a time limit to get to them. If there are emails that need immediate attention, reply away. If they’re not urgent, get to them at the end of the day.

Sort your emails into folders

Which leads to this next point. Your mailbox has lots of features that let you organise your mail into different folders. Categorising different emails into different folders is a really useful tool to help you be on top of your tasks!

When all your email - read or unread - are unsorted in your mailbox, it makes it easy to miss out on important messages. Additionally, it’s a total nightmare sorting out all your mail just to find that one email a particular colleague sent to you some weeks ago (hey, just wanted to check if you could reply to the email I sent you the other day…?).

Every time you get new mail, start categorising it into different folders so you don’t miss anything. It’s the key to helping you take charge of your mailbox.

Clear your inbox regularly

Once you’ve read your emails, either you reply to them, archive them, or delete them. There’s no point in keeping emails from three years ago in your inbox. They’re no longer relevant and all they’re doing is create more email clutter for you. When you clean your mailbox regularly, you can save yourself from taking hours to sort through a mailbox packed with thousands of emails.

Install apps to help you manage your inbox

If you still find sorting out your mailbox tricky, why not download a few apps to give you a hand?

Unroll.me

Do you receive lots of newsletters? Then you might want to consider downloading Unroll.me. This app combines all your subscription newsletters into one email so you can look through them all at once. Mails like these take up a good portion of your mailbox space so Unroll.me can be really handy for those who receive a ton of newsletters.

Mailstrom

Sorting out your email into different folders can be time-consuming, so why not let an app help you do that? Mailstrom is a clever app that helps you categorise emails in bundles. Once it’s done sorting out your email for you, you can then act on these emails in groups.

Taskforce

This app turns your emails into to-do lists so you can check your tasks off easily. It’s definitely a great help for those who receive lots of emails regarding projects, meetings, and follow-ups. With this app, you no longer need to constantly look through your mailbox and stress over missing out on deadlines or tasks!

Having a clean, organised mailbox can help you prioritise tasks, keep track of conversations, and be on top of deadlines. In other words, taking control of your mailbox helps you perform at work! You will never be able to escape from emails at work but being on top of your emails isn’t an impossible task. Just adopt a few new habits when it comes to sorting your email, or download a few apps to give you a hand. You’ll be surprised how a little goes a long way.

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