Technology is great. It enables the flow of information and helps us with our own organization habits; however, it can also become a time waster instead of a time saver. Here are some tips to tame your inbox:
- Set up or designate an e-mail account for solicitations. Give this address out to loyalty programs, special offers, etc. You can check this account at your leisure and this reduces the amount of e-mails you have to wade through on a daily basis just to get to the e-mails that need your attention.
- Periodically review your e-mail subscriptions. If you have not utilized a particular service/subscription, unsubscribe from the e-mail. This applies only to e-mails that you requested (not junk or spam).
- Train your junk/spam filter. I heavily use this and scan the junk folder before exiting my e-mail and manually trashing the junk folder contents.
- Don’t participate in the latest text/e-mail forwarding campaign. We all have friends and colleagues who like to hit forward and sent information to everyone they’ve ever met. Don’t do it. Read the information and determine if it’s relevant and accurate. Is it an urban legend (check www.snopes.com for validity)? Is it unfounded research? Is it really that funny? Will this provide the recipient with information they need?
- Designate time for reading e-mail, surfing, or social media. I typically read and respond to my e-mails at predetermined slots throughout the day. I use my smartphone to quickly scan for any urgent items. This allows me to focus on reading and responding to e-mails and be efficient in doing so because I’ve minimized other distractions. I like to check in on the social media sites and give myself an allotment of time during my day to do so. Once my time is up, I move on to the next task – no loitering online! You can use the same strategy for reading news, playing games, or any other activity that doesn’t directly relate to your goals.
These are just a few ways that I keep my inbox organized, minimized and optimized. Try these and you will be amazed at how easy it is to get a handle on that overflowing inbox. Remember: Are you using technology to your advantage or is it using you?