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Give your Inbox a Detox this Week!

So maybe email isn’t going to disappear any time soon, and my post about email being dead was slightly premature. For those of you who are overwhelmed with email on a daily basis, you might want to take advantage of this week because January 23 – 27 marks the fifth annual international Clean Out Your Inbox Week.

All over the web this week, you’ll find excellent tips on how to organize and clean out your email inbox. As more and more individuals work remotely, we place a greater strain on collaboration tools as a means to stay in sync. Now I’m sure you’re just like me and get at least 30 emails a day so let’s all try to take advantage of this week. This way we can all be more efficient and better collaborators. Instead of being that guy – you know, the one who always asks for your email to be resent because they can’t find it amongst the sea of others in their inbox.

Want To Get Started Right Away?

Here’s some quick advice from email efficiency wizard Marsha Egan, who created Clean Out Your Inbox Week, five years ago.

  • Create Action Folders -Egan recommends creating folders labeled “Action A” or Action B”. The goal is to  drag and drop anything that requires your action into these folders. Use them to triage your attention so you know what you need to do, when.
  • Set Reminders – As soon as you drop an item into one of these folders, set a reminder of when to address it. This will ensure you don’t ignore things for weeks and prevent you email from piling up.
  • Create Reference Folders – Email that does require any action from you, should be placed in what Egan calls “reference folders”. Examples of these would be correspondents, contracts, directions etc… Egan says a best practice is to have broad heading and no sub-folders.
  • Limit Email Viewing – Check your email in the longest interval that you can possibly stand. Time Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Work Week, suggests looking at email three to four times a day – Morning, After lunch, Mid-afternoon and twenty minutes or so before you leave the office.
  • Be Persistent – To see the results of these tips, you have to keep with them!

Still Curious about Clean out your Inbox Week?

Here’s a small glimpse of other great tips you can discover this week:

  • Curious to see how well you’re managing your existing inbox? Take Mindjet’s test and find out!
  • Want to learn how much time you’re wasting with email? Check out Mesmo consultancy’s email calculator that helps give you an idea of how much time you waste based on the number of emails you receive a day.

So take advantage of this week and tame that wild beast that is your inbox!

Your Turn

Have any great inbox detox tips? We’re all ears!

Image Source: www.iStockphoto.com

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