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10 Tips To Tackle Email Overload

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It’s estimated that we spend about a third of our workday in the inbox. With the time invested in email and its increasing business importance, maximizing email communication and the time spent managing that communication can improve productivity and help workers stay focused. Here are a few ways you can tame your inbox and avoid becoming overwhelmed with email:

1. Email is not for everything. When you’re sending a message that requires more than a few paragraphs, email may not be the best medium. Pick up the phone or discuss it in person.

2. Who really cares? It may be tempting to send an email to all employees to announce a departmental victory, but it is necessary? Help lessen the weight on colleagues’ inboxes by considering who really needs the information before firing off a message.

3. It’s not a race. Instead of replying immediately to each email as it’s received, schedule time every few hours to sort and respond to email. Turning off the new message pop-ups and notifications helps to reduce the temptation to dive into the inbox.

4. Know when to clock out. Just because you can check your work email around the clock, doesn’t mean you should. When you leave the office, turn off email notifications on your phone to avoid tipping your work/life balance.

5. Be a professional. Save the cute emoticons and OMGs for personal communication. Not only does it help maintain the professionalism and clarity of your message, but it can also help you avoid an embarrassing email blunder.

6. Over-emailing annoys. Don’t send an email to confirm if a recipient received an email or multiple messages to check on status. Sending too many messages can cause recipients to ignore them.

7. Don’t get too attached. For large digital files, email isn’t an ideal medium for distribution. Consider using file storage services, like SharePoint or Cloud Files, to share the big stuff.

8. Don’t wait for spring to clean. Set aside time each week to tidy up your inbox to reduce clutter. Use the time to move messages to folders, delete old messages, and check your junk folder for misrouted messages.

9. Protect your work email address. Giving out your primary business email address for whitepaper downloads or webinar registrations can lead to an onslaught of unwanted email. Use a separate email account or an alias for registrations and downloads.

10. Watch this video. The following video shows you how to use existing tools to tame your inbox, plus more ways to streamline your inbox for better email management.

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Lizetta Staplefoote.

Lizetta Staplefoote is a Rackspace Marketing Copywriter with a decade of experience writing about small business challenges for healthcare, real estate, and technology. Her passion is researching and writing about the impact of cloud computing. When she's not wordsmithing, she enjoys hanging out with her sons, exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains, and feeding her music addiction.


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1 Comment

Nice ideas. Add: batch process email 3x per day, quietly, on your computer, so you can concentrate, fully process the email and delete it. Thanks, Bob

avatar Bob O'Hare on May 21, 2012 | Reply

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