How to stay on top of your email inbox?

Are you drowning in your inbox?  

Do you find it hard to find important emails or seem to have a an inbox you never seem to get on top of?

If this sounds familiar to you,  check out the following tips on how to stay on top of your inbox:

1) Set a regular time to check your email

Don’t be on your email all the time, because that just wastes time. Set a regular time – once a day, twice a day, three times a day – whatever is going to work for you and your business.

The key here is that you are only checking and dealing with your email once.  Now, once an email comes in, there are actually only four things that you can do with an email:

2) Deal with it now

The first thing you can do with an email is deal with it right away. These are the things that are are going to take a few minutes – you might be responding to someone, or sending them a document, or a quick reply. Deal with it right there and then rather than let it sit there and say ‘I’ll get back to it later’.  It is actually quicker to deal with it then.

3) Delete it

The second thing you can do is delete it. Sometimes you’re getting things into your inbox which are just clutter and taking up space. So just delete it and if you are really finding yourself deleting the same email over and over again, make sure you unsubscribe, or set up rules in your junk email so it doesn’t end up in your inbox. Save time by making sure these types of emails do not make it into your inbox in the first place.

4) Deal with it later

The next thing you can do is deal with it later. This is for items that are going to take more time, say 15 minutes or more.  This might be bigger projects such as a quote you need to get to a customer, you might need to get back a more detailed response to someone, or take the time to review a document. The key thing here is that it is going to take time.  So schedule some time aside in your diary when you are going to look at it. Otherwise, it is just going to sit in your inbox waiting.  Once you have set a time, then file the email in a place where you can find it easily when it comes time to dealing with it.

5) Delegate it

And finally, the fourth thing you can do is delegate it. Think about who else could be dealing with that email and delegate it to that person. Ask them for a response and give them the tools they need to get it done. And think about it – did that email need to come to you in the first place – could it have gone direct to them next time.  Take the time to educate the person who sent you the email to send it direct to the person you delegated to them next time.

So in summary, remember to put some time aside in your diary to work on emails once, twice, or three times a day. When you go through your inbox take action on every email and do one fo four things:

  • Do it then
  • Delete it
  • Do it later (schedule time)
  • Delegate it

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