We live in an age of social networking, cell phones and the World Wide Web where information is constantly available at our fingertips and vying for our attention. Just like its spider web namesake, the web has created many new sticky organizational situations. We need to take a step back and make sure current advances that are meant to make our lives easier, like our email inbox, are not actually distracting us and making our lives more stressful and less productive.
So how can we make our email inbox more beneficial, organized and less taxing?
We can set perimeters as to how often we check our email each day and adhere to it. Allocate time to check email three times a day: morning, midday and evening/end of the workday. We can remove distracting sound alerts that take us off-task and act as a siren luring us to their call. Emails can wait to be answered at the allotted time. This will work if email is not used as a medium for urgent items-that is not what it is meant for.
We should think of our email inbox as a paper inbox that sits on our desk. It is meant to be empty, not full and overflowing. At Absolutely Organized we have worked with clients who have thousands of emails in their inbox at one given time-don’t let that happen to you. When you have taken care of an item in your inbox, delete it! If the email isn’t something you need to handle, forward it along to where it needs to go utilizing the “Reply All” option should you need to keep track of multi-recipient responses.
We can utilize filtering and blocking systems, usually available with our email provider, to keep unwanted emails and spam from coming to our inbox. Software such as Microsoft Outlook helps in organizing emails as well as allowing us to access and respond to multiple email addresses from just one location. Removing newsletters and reading material from our inbox by creating organized inbox folders allows the information to be where we can find it when we have time to read it.
The unsubscribe button has a purpose; to terminate mail we no longer wish to receive. If we aren’t receiving the information to our inbox then we won’t need to manage it.
New technological advances are wonderful when they are used for what they were designed for: allowing us more time and freedom. When we permit advances such as our email inbox to distract and dictate our time, we have invited just one, more, sticky organizational situation to enter our lives.
Jenny Power 1/20/14