According to McKinsey & Company, we spend about 28% of our workweek reading and responding to emails and 19% searching and gathering information. But we can get some of that time back. As a former inbox hostage, I can tell you that taking just a few minutes to organize your inbox today will pay off significantly down the road.
Here are a few tips to get back that time you’re wasting with email:
As soon as you open an email, categorize it. It will be much easier to find and take action on later. Email services like Gmail allow you to create labels to help organize your messages into categories with one click. Labels like “Requires Action,” “Requires Response,” and “Read Later,” can make filing and searching emails quick and efficient. You can also add more than one label to a message, and nest labels within others to create subcategories.
If you find you don’t open over 50% of emails from a sender you’ve subscribed to, or if they rarely provide value, unsubscribe. It’s easier to scan through new emails without useless ones filling up your inbox. It’s also better for the soul when you don’t have a triple-digit “new email” notification staring back at you each day. The free service Unroll.Me makes it easy to see all of your subscriptions in one place and instantly unsubscribe. It even lets you “roll” the subscriptions you keep into one email, and then you pick the time it’s delivered.
If possible, respond immediately
If a quick response to a message is appropriate, send it off right away. It’ll take one more thing off your list, and prevent your “Requires Response” folder from becoming unmanageable.
Stay tuned for more email efficiency advice!
Any tried and true email tips you’d like to share?