Hey there everyone!!
Are you overwhelmed with your inbox and find it challenging to catch up? Tons of people also find it challenging.
And tons of people do not. We have mastered the ability to manage our e-mails effectively. Here are some ideas and strategies.
1. It all begins with psychology.
I set a goal and put lots of time and effort into it. Once I achieve it, I feel great for a small period of time, and then the feeling goes away. So, sometimes when I want something, I think, why even bother? By the time I get it, I won’t care for it anymore.
Can you relate? Do you never catch-up on your e-mails because you feel that it’s impossible or never-ending? That mentality keeps us from being successful in every area of life. Feel good in the process. I’ve found most people never get caught-up, and we MUST get caught-up the first time. That way we can utilize the following strategies to consistently remain caught up, instead of never ever being caught up at all. Imagine your psychology (and ability to be present in other activities), when you will never need to worry about catching up on your e-mails again!
2. What state are you in?
Forcing a certain time structure doesn’t work for me (although it does for some people). I prefer to do things when I’m inspired to do them, or at least when I feel like doing them. That way I’m most productive and doing what I love most of the time. It’s easy for e-mail to fit into small cracks of idle time (e.g., waiting for an appointment), as opposed to other important and significant activities.
Getting through my e-mails then just has me categorize things until I finish categorizing them. Some e-mails may require tasks that may take hours (e.g., watching videos), so they get placed into other to-dos, as opposed to being part of my “getting through e-mails” time.
3. It Is a HEADLINE world
As the volume of our inbox increases, it will be increasingly more difficult and eventually impossible to read every single e-mail. This is where the beauty and importance of the subject line comes into place. The first step of “getting through e-mails” is to scan all the subject lines to see if there is anything urgent (or mouth-watering) that we’d like to check out immediately.
Similarly, rather than reading each word in an e-mail, we could “skim” and look for keywords or important data. At times it is helpful to sort by Sender, in case we are looking for communication from specific individuals. Search is also becoming an integral skill, not just with Google, but being savvy enough to select the right words to find the right e-mail. In other words, we never need to “get through e-mails” because we know we always have the ability to find any e-mail we need at any time.
4. Think Overall Time Context
Once we have a system for “getting through e-mails,” we actually don’t need to get through all our e-mails. That’s when we can consciously choose whether we are in production-mode (to get through a whole bunch), or in relaxation-mode (to enjoy the lighter-side of digital communication).
Don’t spend your time deleting useless e-mails or unsubscribing from things you don’t read anymore. That takes up way too much valuable time, and with Search and your new found strategies, deleting and re-organizing folders just becomes obsolete. E-mail is a medium that has its pros and cons, so consider migrating a lengthy e-mail conversation to the telephone or to a physical meeting.
5. Need not respond to every
It may seem natural to reply to every inquiry. However, being too caught-up can be counter-productive, because many times those inquiries will be handled (either by other people, or by other circumstances). We’re not writing a novel, so short, quick responses (even with typographical errors) are often very much appreciated.
Save time for other people by not becoming Carbon-Copy happy. Most people don’t need more unnecessary CC’s, and group lists never get as much attention as individual communications. And by all means, avoid relationship disasters by never using the BCC feature. You don’t need to understand why, but if you need to send an e-mail to somebody without others knowing, just take an extra step by FORWARDING them the sent message.
6. SPAM filters work 99%
I used to hate using spam filters because I was afraid of missing important e-mails. Now I’m forced to use them (I suggest Low/Medium level only). I just periodically check my Bulk Folder to catch the occasional missed important e-mail and Whitelist the ones I want to get in my inbox.
Alternatively, relaying messages through social networks may be far more effective. While Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube all have their own versions of SPAM, it is far less than that of the e-mail world. More importantly, it’s a more personal way of engaging with people (when we can see their picture and explore their profiles).
Do you know that some people don’t even know how to use voice mail? I leave a message for someone with a specific question… They respond with a voice mail, not giving me the answer to that question in voice mail, but by saying “I have your answer – call me back.”
I wasn’t going to write a whole article about how to use voice mail. But e-mail is more complicated, and maximizing its use can be a sophistical skill. How do you manage your e-mails? If you’re reading this, I’d say you’re pretty awesome because you know how to find the nuggets!
Let’s love the world together…
[)anish /|hmed, blind visionary
P.S. Help people get through their e-mails faster, by sharing this with them.