How can your email inbox get so huge so fast? Didn’t you just clean it out yesterday? If it makes you feel any better, you’re not alone in your fight to get a grip on your email. Email accounts are expected to grow from 3.3 billion accounts in 2012 to more than 4.3 billion accounts by year-end 2016. Another statistic that probably won’t surprise you: We spend nine minutes on email via a mobile device every day. No wonder it feels like email has taken over your life.
Want some help? Here are a few ways you can take charge of your email inbox and not miss out on any important notices or client communications.
- Don’t obsess. Yes, email is important, but so are lots of other aspects of your business. Set aside specific times to check, answer and organize your email. If you know you have time reserved, you’ll feel better about ignoring your inbox at certain (busier) times of your day.
- Sort into folders. Most people lose track of what’s in their inbox because they aren’t using folders. Make it a habit to read the email and then immediately put it into the proper folder. There are lots of other tools right in your email program, too, that can help cut your email time down—you can set up filters by category or group emails by subject so you only see the latest conversation.
- Try out some apps. There are so many apps available to help you manage and weed out unwanted emails, so try a few and see which you prefer. Most, like SaneBox, TheSwizzle.com and Mailstrom, help you clean out junk mail like the e-newsletters and advertisements you inadvertently signed up for but don’t have time to look at. Don’t worry—you always have control over what you see and what gets filed away for later.
- Divide and conquer. Having all your emails sent to one email inbox can be overwhelming. Separate work and personal email by using different email addresses. You can also set up a separate email address for newsletters.
- Just talk live. If it’s easier to call someone instead of sending an email, do it.
Most important, be flexible. If one system doesn’t work for you, try another. Email is an essential part of business communications, so don’t let it get the better of you.