Is checking your work emails the least fun part of your day? We know that facing an overflowing inbox can be a challenge. It can be overwhelming when you're constantly receiving marketing emails, newsletters, work emails, and event reminders.
That's probably why 45% of internet users avoid opening emails from unknown email addresses. Who has the time to open every email? But email inbox management is quick and easy when you have the right tools and tricks.
Get ready to make checking your inbox simple and stress-free again. All you have to do is implement good email management solutions and use any of these 15 effective email inbox management hacks.
15 Tips for Better Email Inbox Management
With these 15 tips for better email inbox management, you'll say goodbye to stress, boost your efficiency, and increase your productivity. These tips are perfect for your shared business inbox and your personal email account.
1. Start With a Clean Slate
Don't know where or how to start managing your email inbox? It's always best to start with a clean slate. When you start with a clean slate, email management becomes much easier.
Try the ‘Four Ds' approach to get started. It's also effective for long-term email inbox management. The ‘Ds' stand for four actions that you can choose from to handle every email: delete, delegate, defer, and do.
Delete all emails that are unwanted, unnecessary, and uninvited. This includes newsletters and marketing emails for which you have no use. Next, delegate email tasks that are more suited to other team members. Defer emails that are not relevant right now. Lastly, do anything urgently required before proceeding with the next tips.
2. Embrace Folders and Labels
It's time to categorize those deferred emails and those containing important information that can't be deleted. Learn to embrace folders and labels. When the time comes for you to refer to those emails later, you'll find what you need in seconds.
Group your emails by type, topic, or the client or supplier's name. You must do what works for you. Customizable folders and labels allow you to tailor them to suit your industry, team, and company.
3. Use Filters and Rules
Spam has no place in a productive business email inbox. Unfortunately, it's a reality that you'll have to face. You can often spot spam from the email subject lines; most email service providers have spam filters. But a few of those sneaky emails will get through.
Spam happens. That doesn't mean you need to allow it to infiltrate your inbox, though. Use filters and rules to stem the tide of those unwanted and spam emails. Dedicated email management software allows you to set rules for built-in filters. Identify a particular sender or type of email as spam. Then, just set it and forget it.
4. Prioritize With Markers
Some emails are more important than others. This is because they contain vital information you'll need to refer to later. Make sure that these emails stand out when you search for them later.
Prioritize these important emails with special markers. A popular marker is the star. It makes finding important emails within a folder quick and easy. However, any marker that you prefer will do. The point is to make them more noticeable so that your eye spots them immediately.
5. Invest In Email Management Solutions
Regardless of where you are on your inbox email management journey, you could do with some help. Invest in email management solutions, and let them do all the hard work!
Robust email management solutions offer features like automated filtering, sorting, and prioritization of emails. This keeps your inbox clean without manual intervention, saving you time and energy.
Although some email service providers offer some email management tools, they don't have the variety of tools that robust email management solutions do. Ordinary email services are fine for personal emails, but business emails call for more professional solutions.
6. Establish a Two-Minute Rule
Limited time makes it easy to fall into the procrastination trap. This quickly escalates, and before you know it, your overflowing inbox problem becomes even more of a challenge. Nip this in the bud and establish a two-minute rule. You'll become more productive than you ever thought possible.
The two-minute rule is a productivity technique that recommends that if a task takes less than two minutes to complete, you should do it immediately. Ask yourself, "What can I do in the next two minutes?" That doesn't sound like much, but those 120 seconds are often all needed to perform some of the smaller email tasks.
7. Color Code for Visual Organization
Most people spot things easier when they're marked by color. Color coding items help them stand out. So, make searching through email folders simpler, with color coding for better visual organization. If you're using a shared inbox, ensure all your teammates know your color-coding system.
If you want to get the most out of your color-coded system, be consistent about it. If a specific color means one thing today, it must mean the same thing tomorrow. Remember, if you're inconsistent with your code, you risk confusing other team members, who will incorrectly categorize emails.
8. Consistent Subject Naming
Consistent subject naming is essential for inbox efficiency and clarity like color coding. Avoid using abbreviations or acronyms that make sense to you alone when using a shared inbox. It will only confuse your colleagues, leading to wasted time, frustration, and delays.
Set up a naming system for all your files and folders that everyone can easily understand and remember. Keep it relevant to the client or project; you and your colleagues won't forget it. If you have many categories about a particular client, subdivide them further with a numbering system.
9. Limit Notifications
Email notifications alert you to activity on your various accounts. They can notify you of fraudulent activity or payment errors, so you may want to continue receiving them. But you'll spot important notifications faster when you aren't receiving them every two minutes.
Email notifications can quickly add up and take over your inbox. Are they all necessary? Check if there are alternative notification options for some of those accounts. When you limit your email notifications, you'll see a dramatic reduction in email inbox clutter.
Unsubscribe from newsletters and subscriptions that aren't offering you any value. If you find yourself skipping over them every time they come in, that's your sign that they no longer serve a purpose. Unsubscribing takes seconds but makes a big impact on your email inbox.
Like those notifications that do nothing but clog up your inbox, unread newsletters make it harder to see what's important. You'll free up space and time every day by unsubscribing from them. You'll usually find the ‘unsubscribe' button at the bottom of the newsletter page.
11. Use a Naming Convention for Attached Files
Many legitimate business emails you receive will have at least one attachment. Some will have multiple attachments. This can be confusing when looking for a particular file, especially if it's one of many.
Download files as soon as you've scanned the contents and deemed them important. Use a naming convention for the attached files; you'll quickly find what you're looking for in future searches.
12. Sync Across Devices
You aren't necessarily tied to your office, so why should your email inbox be? Sync your email account across all devices so you and your team can stay on the job and on top of new developments wherever you are.
The benefit of accessing your email from your mobile device is that you can manage your emails even when your daily routine changes. Changing your routine won't mean an overflowing inbox when you return to your desk.
13. Schedule Regular Email Time
Effective email inbox management is a good habit to introduce into your work environment. It takes time to establish a new habit, but it's a lot easier when you schedule regular time for it. This helps your email inbox management become a routine, and with time, you'll wonder how you ever got by without it.
Sometimes, timing causes a lot of your email management issues in the first place. Checking and sending emails during the busiest part of the day is tricky. There's so much going on that could distract you. We recommend dealing with your inbox first thing in the morning and again before the close of business.
14. Archive Strategically
If you want to experience the pleasure of a clear inbox, you must master the art of strategic archiving. There are always going to be emails that are too important to delete. Yet you may not refer to them often enough to justify keeping them visible.
Archiving is the solution. It'll store and preserve these emails safely so they're there when you need them and out of sight when you don't. It also reduces the load on your email server, improving its performance. But in the event of a disaster, those emails will not be lost.
15. Set Up Auto-Responses and Out-Of-Office
Are you going to be away from the office for an important meeting? Perhaps you're booked off sick or you're going on leave? Whatever the case, you don't want to be disturbed for a while. But simply ignoring your emails is also not the answer.
Set up auto-responses and out-of-office messages so that senders can contact you at another time or contact one of your colleagues instead. This is the responsible and professional way to deal with being offline and unavailable. Anything less creates an unfavorable impression.
Email inbox management makes you and your team more efficient and productive. But while our email inbox management hacks work wonders, they require the right tools. Helpmonks is one of the most effective email management solutions. And it offers much more than just an organized email inbox.
As our valued customer, you'll also get all the tools you need for email marketing campaigns, a company knowledge base, CRM, and customer service tools, all in one place! If you want to take your email processes to the next level, get the help you need at Helpmonks. Register for a free trial today!