How does it feel to be taking back control of your inbox ? Are you following the Touch It Once Rule and are you Checking It Less? Or is it a little tougher than you though it would be and you feel like some days you’ve got it under control and other days not so much?
The next rule of email is to Cut The Crap. We all receive a lot of mail every day that has no value. The time we spend cleaning out the junk is time we can’t get back. Stop wasting time and cut the crap.
Use your Junk mail folder – Most email programs have an option to mark messages as spam or junk. Once you flag the message as spam or junk, your email program should automatically move messages like that one to the junk folder and they will bypass your Inbox.
Unsubscribe from mass mailings – Take a look at the newsletters and advertisements you receive on a regular basis, are you really reading them? I’ve found that some newsletters I just don’t have time to read or I don’t get any value out of those messages. For those emails, I use the unsubscribe link to remove myself from the mailing list. I would rather spend a few seconds unsubscribing from the email than delete messages repeatedly throughout the week.
I don’t receive any sale advertisements in my Inbox anymore. Its less email to delete and less temptation to spend my hard earned money. I unsubscribed from the daily Groupon and Living Social deals because I wasn’t buying anything and I was tired of deleting them every day. If I’m looking for a deal on a hair cut or massage (my favorite kind of deals!) I can go to the site and search for the deal or one of my friends will let me know about a deal that I might be interested in and its less distractions in my Inbox.
Use mail rules – For emails I want to keep but don’t want to deal with in my Inbox, I use mail rules to automatically move those messages to the appropriate folders as they come in. Be careful with mail rules as its easier to miss important messages if it gets routed to a folder instead of coming into your Inbox. I use mail rules to route certain newsletters that I want to read but don’t want to see in my Inbox.
Use the right email address - Which email address should you use? Its pretty simple, work email goes to the work address and personal email goes to your personal address.
These are small changes you can make to your email habits to help make your email more manageable and you can get back to the work that matters. I’m pretty sure Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerburg didn’t build their companies by sending and receiving email all day. Remember, Checking email constantly throughout the day is a great way to keep yourself busy without actually doing any real work.
I’ve been trying to stick to my own rules but when I get tired and feel overwhelmed, I slide back into my bad habits. Sam busted me just this week for skimming email, which meant I ended up reading the email twice, when I should have waited until I was ready to read it and respond. I’m not going to give up and neither should you.
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Image Source: Keith Abraham