Greek mythology tells of Sisyphus, a Corinthian king who was punished in Hades by being forced to continually roll a giant boulder up a hill. As soon as he would reach the top, the boulder would roll right back down, and his task would start over.
If keeping your e-mail inbox clear feels like a Sisyphean task, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve put together some tips to help you cope with the challenge and manage your inbox like a pro.
Just like checking your actual physical mailbox, checking your e-mail inbox should be an intentional act that’s accomplished at set times. Barring the rare case of emergency, you should not allow the ding of your e-mail alert to rule your day.
Though the frequency of how often you check and respond to messages will depend on your situation, one thing you should not do is just keep your inbox open on a rolling basis. Instead, intentionally set aside times to read and respond to e-mails.
As you deal with your e-mails, prioritize organization over responses. Allow us to explain why. If your goal is to respond to each e-mail as it comes in, you will quickly feel overwhelmed with the task and due to the enormity of the task, you may lose important messages in the shuffle.
Instead of responding to each e-mail one by one, quickly toggle through all your current messages, organizing them into folders as you go. Only e-mails that require an immediate response should be left in the inbox, to be cleared as soon as you’ve responded. If e-mails do not require an immediate response (that is, if they’re informational or require thought or research on your part first), they should be sent to a different folder. In this way, only your immediate tasks at hand will be left for you to deal with.
This program only works, of course, if you make it work. If you set up your times and your folders but then fall quickly back into bad habits, you’ll see no results. Consistency, however, makes a huge difference. Plan your work and work your plan — always.
We Can Help
For more information on best practices for keeping up with e-mail, or if you would like to hear more about our premium services, please feel free to contact us at any time.
We look forward to serving you.