This month your NYC Professional Office Organizer is focusing on email management tips and organizing strategies. I am often asked about cluttered inboxes and how to beat email overwhelm, so here are my answers to 3 frequently asked questions.
Q: My email inbox is open during my workday since it’s how I primarily connect with my clients. Every time a new email comes in, I stop working and check it. It feels so distracting. Is there a better way?
Email can be very distracting if you let it. First off, I always tell my clients to close their email program and to shut off the email alerts when they are working on a specific task. Second, set response time expectations for yourself and your clients. Be sure to share this information with your clients and other contacts. This way you can both get tasks completed and respond to clients in a timely manner.
Q: I keep missing deadlines and important tasks that are sent to me through my email. How can I easily organize this information so it stops happening?
I would suggest setting rules or filters to direct all the less important emails like newsletters to another folder to reduce the amount of clutter in your inbox. The objective should be to only receive the more important emails in your inbox. In addition, unsubscribe to lists to minimize the number of messages that you receive. You could try a tool like unroll.me.
Q: I’m overwhelmed each morning when I see how many new emails I’ve received. It takes me so long to go through everything! What is one thing I can do to make it easier?
I would recommend that you review all new messages at scheduled intervals during the day so that you minimize the spikes in the volume. Adjust the number of intervals to correspond with the typical number of messages received daily. Quickly address all messages that can be deleted or responded to in 2 minutes. This will clear some of the email clutter. Those messages that deliver tasks and will take more time can be flagged or moved to a to-do folder to be addressed at a specified time.
Do you have a question for this NYC Professional Office Organizer? You can send in your questions right here and then check back next month to see what new advice I shared!