I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a love/hate relationship with their inbox. I know I do. If I find a webinar about taming my inbox, you can be sure I signed up for it.
I recently did just that through the Career Mastery™ Kickstart 2018 event. Carson Tate, who offers a course in taming the inbox and is the author of “Work Simply: Embracing the Power of Your Personal Productivity Style” shared some tips.
While most of us are working to be more productive, part of our problem is poor allocation of time, Carson noted. Unfortunately, one size does not fit all. We each need to find the style that works for us.
Carson encourages us to change our mindset about our inboxes. “You no longer work for your inbox, your inbox works for you,” she emphasized.
I was relieved when she said that the typical inbox should have no more than 50 emails in the inbox. Whew! That’s about where I am by week’s end. The first part of the week my inbox soars with emails. For a long time that frustrated me, but I know now that by week’s end the flow of emails ebbs. Midweek, I set time aside to review my emails for any important ones I may have overlooked. I delete those that require no action and offer no information. When Friday comes, I often walk out the door with 50 emails or fewer. Before the holidays I was down to 18.
It’s important to think about how you use your inbox. For me, it’s a giant to do list. Carson said there is nothing wrong with that, but for that to work, it’s important to move reference emails to a retrieval system. I’ll file emails into folders as needed. Other times, I file the attachment into a Word folder so I can retrieve it later.
She also encouraged individuals to stop starting the day with emails. “Your inbox is everyone else’s to do list for you,” she said.
I hadn’t thought about it that way. I now limit how often I check my inbox so I can work on the projects that are a priority. However, I will admit that I check it more frequently than is often recommended because I work with reporters on tight deadlines and need to be able to respond quickly.
By limiting how often I do check my emails, I am able to advance my goals.
The mail continues to arrive, but I’m processing it more efficiently.
What are your tips for taming your inbox?