Never Miss an Important Email Again

Never Miss an Important Email Again

Email is the main way we communicate these days. Whether it’s an invitation to your best friend’s birthday, a potential new client, even our partner’s vacation schedule often comes through email. But once it’s there how do we find it again? Did we even see it in the first place? What’s the next step once you’ve read it?

Having a system for sorting AND emptying your email inbox can be one of the best ways to stay on top of what’s going on in both your personal and professional life.

But is your “system” not really a system? Is it haphazardly checking your email while you wait in line? Looking over your inbox first thing in the morning and then every time a new alert dings? Once you’ve read an email, do you know what to do with it? Save it? Delete it? Flag it?

It may sound complicated to create a system, or a workflow, for staying on top of your email, but it really isn’t. It’s just about looking at the steps you’re already doing and considering how to improve and streamline it. To start making an email system, I recommend setting aside a dedicated time every day to processing email. And I’m not talking about checking email when you’re bored waiting in line. I’m talking about responding, removing and creating next steps for each email that’s arrived in the last 24 hours.

Once you’ve got your dedicated email time, you’ll be asking yourself questions about how to proceed with each individual email. The steps are usually like these:

  1. What is this? Either reference, trash, task. If it’s trash- trash it. If it’s reference, move it to reference storage.
  2. If it’s a task: Am I the right person to do this? Can I do it in less than 2 minutes? If you can, then get it done and move the email out of your inbox. If you’re not the right person, delegate it. If it’ll take more than 2 minutes, add it to your task list.

If you focus only on today’s email like this, you’ll find that you’ve developed a system to stay on top of it, which means you can then work on the backlog of emails that have been piling up over weeks, months maybe even years. Only move backwards once you’ve got your new email processing steps down pat.

This is a great place to start and I know it can keep that number in the red circle from getting bigger. I want you to learn more strategies and tools to help take the stress out of email. Starting April 16th, you can take 10 minutes a day to improve your relationship with email by joining the Take Back Your Inbox challenge. It’s 5 days of simple, easy and quick tips and tricks to make your email and your life better.