5 ways to manage your inbox

Productivity_May02_CIt’s safe to say that email has become the primary communication tool for businesses all over the world. Its instant nature has also made communication infinitely easier. Despite all of the benefits of email, there are some drawbacks, with the sheer amount of emails we get on a daily basis being the biggest of them. If you inbox is a little unruly, there are steps you can take to reign it in.

Here are five tips on how you can better manage your inbox.

1. Address last
Most people start an email by typing in the address of the recipient(s). While there is nothing wrong with this practice, it can lead to emails being sent before they are finished, which could mean more emails in your inbox asking for clarifications or you having to send a correction email.

To stop this, try writing the body of the email first and when you have finished, put the addresses of the recipients.

2. Merge social with email
Sometimes it can be hard to know who you are writing or replying to in your email. Using an app like Rapportive, which brings social information into Gmail can help. This app puts a bar to the right-side of an email with information about the sender, including their social profiles, recent tweets and even links to their LinkedIn profile. You can look up your recipients and connect with them directly from the email.

3. Use links, not attachments
With the increasing number of cloud storage and productivity apps like Microsoft SkyDrive and Google Drive which allow you to share files by sending people links, there’s no need to attach files to an email. This is incredibly useful if you find yourself sending document versions back and forth on a regular basis and struggle to keep everything up to date.

These services use one version of the document that users you share it with have access to. Everyone sees the same document, which will cut down on the number of emails and confusion when it comes to version control of important documents.

4. Don’t use email for everything
Email is so quick and easy that we tend to rely on it for everything. However, there are certain situations when email is not the best form of communication. For example, if you have a tough problem, need to reprimand an employee, etc. it would not be a good idea to do so in email, it’s just too impersonal.

As a rule of thumb: If there’s any chance of human emotions entering into a response or being affected by an email, it may be a better idea to communicate face-to-face.

5. Cook all your bacn at once
Bacn (pronounced Bacon) is solicited email; email you want, just not right now. Social media updates, newsletters, website update notifications, etc. are all forms of bacn. Checking these takes time and can be a distraction if you have work to get done. It would be a good idea to schedule a set amount of time where you focus on reading, deleting or archiving these emails.

Alternatively, you can unsubscribe from these alerts or set up a new email account that is just for this type of emails.

There are thousands of things you can do to make your email easier to manage. What do you do? Let us know. If you are looking for even more ways to manage your inbox, contact us today.

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