If you are like many professionals you run into this problem where your inbox grows and grows faster than you can keep up with so you just scan for things you recognize and tell your self you will go back and check the rest later.
I know I’m guilty of this. A while back I looked over and realized that my unread message count had reached 56,000 emails. YES, you read that correctly that was JUST the unread messages, insane right?
I checked the resources on my hard drive for how much space all of those emails was consuming and it really hit me hard. 8GB of my hard drive was being consumed by email messages I didn’t really need. Truth be told many of these messages wasn’t even for the current year!
To banish the bloat here are a few suggestions to get a handle this common problem. When checking your email, force yourself into the habit of using the 3D’s.
- Delete it
- Delegate it
- Do something with it
Delete” it is a no brainer you how to do that. But something to consider before you delete it is ask yourself…“Do I want to continue receiving emails from this person or company?”
If they answer is no, go ahead and unsubscribe and save yourself from having to delete these messages in the future and save yourself sometime.
“Delegate it” is also a simple step. You’ve already made it past the first “D” so now decide if this is something you want to handle or it is better handled by someone else on your team. If so, forward it to them and then delete it or add it to a folder you have set up for this.
The Final D “Do something with it” can be a little more time consuming but it is still an important step to keeping a simplified email box.
Decide if it requires a response if so, respond and file or delete. If it is something you want/need to keep but read later create a folder in your inbox labeled “To Read” and move it there.
A good idea is to add folders for archiving the messages so you can find them easier…but move them out of your inbox. For example add a folder for each member of your team. Or if you they are support emails move them to a support folder. (I recommend setting up a support desk for those but that is a discussion in it’s self.)
Some other folders you may consider are Receipts, Newsletters and Marketing Swipe. The latter is a folder you could store marketing emails you’ve received that appealed to you that you could use for ideas for future emails yourself.
These are just a few of many tips to cleaning your inbox but just like anything else you have to start somewhere.