Whether you agree or not, if you are one of those people who gets distracted easily, email is one of the main reasons. You have done tweaks and used many tricks, but your inbox doesn’t seem to work as you want it too. In this article, you will learn to be an email ninja who will masterfully handle all email problems. All you need to do is to pick any one of the following methods and you will be done.
But articulating methods will not help you deal with such an overwhelming distraction. You need sanity first. So, let’s bring some sanity to your email problems and then we will talk about 5 simple things you can use to end all your email account problems.
How many times did you check your emails per day? If you are a working professional or someone who needs to read a lot of emails, the numbers would be 100, 200, even 500. But how many people do you know who are checking their inboxes (multiple) 500 times a day and feeling sanity? You are right. There can’t be anyone on earth who would love to check emails 500 times a day. But they don’t seem to stop their addiction.
But amid this addiction, can you see that due to this inbox addiction, you are missing out on your precious hours regularly, day in and day out? And your best work is still undone, your dream project is yet to be accomplished and your life is still on hold.
So, here’s what you should do if you want to bring clarity and sanity in your days.
Put off your internet connection
The Internet is a boon we all agree. But too much of anything acts against the advantages. Excessive use of email is one of such things. People don’t realize it until they are habituated with their inbox. So what can be the possible measure to cure the addiction? The solution is as fundamental as it can be. Simply let go of the source. If you are addicted to email, put off your internet connection during certain times when you want to do your work. Don’t say it can’t be done. All you need to do is to have some clarity in your day. Plan your day ahead and consciously put off the internet whenever you want to do work (checking emails is not something that we can call ‘work’; for some, it may, but then you won’t complain about using email excessively).
Set a time when you use email
If you are very much addicted to your inbox, it would be difficult to let go of the addiction. The best way to reduce your addiction is to set a proper time when you will check your email account problems. Maybe twice a day. For some, it’s not enough to check emails two times a day. In that case, set your time and then check during those blocks of time. But don’t go more than five times a day.
Get rid of the device
In this age of modern technology, everybody has a smartphone and thus checking and answering emails has become significantly easier and at the same time, all the time we get notified about how many emails we receive. But we get scared at the idea of getting rid of the smartphone. But if we can do, we will be able to bring so much sanity to our lives that we can’t understand now. You may say that this is against reality. Yes, maybe. Truth is you are not paid for checking emails. Rather you are paid for doing meaningful work and contributing to your client in a way that makes the client happy. So even if you can’t get rid of the phone; put it in airplane mode or turn off the internet when you are working. It will save you a lot of time and moreover it will help you become saner.
In search of a quiet life
Every notification on an email we receive makes us feel important. It makes us feel subconscious that we are doing important work and people are recognizing it via sending emails. But what if this constant email flow becomes unnecessary. What if you want a life which doesn’t need any acknowledgment from outside of you! What if you can feel good just by doing great work and not bothering over emails and constant notification in your inbox! Wouldn’t it bring more quietness and sanity in your life (professional and personal)?
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5 simple tricks to solve your email problems forever
These are the 5 things you can do to solve all your email problems forever. No, they are not technical. Yes, they can be done by anybody irrespective of whatever career or professional life anyone has.
Use 80-20 principle to your email and inbox
You would agree that most of your emails don’t add value to your life. They simply don’t. Of course, few do and let’s deal with only them which do add value to your life. What we suggest to you is these –
- Recognize which email senders you get maximum value from. Add to your address book so that you don’t miss out any emails from them.
- Unsubscribe from all the rest of the email senders.
- How would you do it? You need to use a measure to limit your email subscription. Track how many emails you receive per day. Let’s say you receive 100 emails a day. Now tracking 100 emails is tough. But you don’t need to deal with 100. Simply see how many you want in your inbox (suppose 18-20) and let go of the rest. Simply subscribe and report spam if they seem to load your inbox even after unsubscribing (a lot of them do).
- According to Pareto Principle, we know that only 20% of things make 80% of the difference. That means you can use the same principle to filter out which are the ones that create maximum impact and you can let go of the rest.
Have you heard the word ‘delete’
Yes, this is one of the easiest ways to deal with your email problems. We have seen many inboxes full of emails, 100, 500, even 1000 which were not read or given any importance whatsoever, but still, they are lying in the inbox, picking their heads up for attention. But is that necessary? If you have ever faced such a problem, the only solution is select all and press ‘delete.’ If you are not able to do that there are certain things which will guide you on your way to create an empty inbox –
- Inbox full of emails creates visual and gradually mental ambiguousness. It reminds you every day that how much you don’t need them, but you can’t muster the courage to delete them at once.
- The reason for which you are not able to delete them at once is that you, like any of us, suffer from ‘in-case’ syndrome. We keep things or emails or messages, just in case in future we need them. But if you have not opened them for last 3 to 6 months, trust that you won’t need them anymore, yes not even in near future. You can still check and delete the emails you want to delete, but that is a long process.
- You can also use step by step deletion method. Simply decide to delete 10 emails every day after checking. And don’t let any new email sit in your inbox. If they are not necessary to delete them. For old emails, read them and delete 10 emails per day. It will make things easier for you.
Writing and responding to email problems
In previous sections, we mentioned how you would be able to clear out the email account problems and make your inbox empty. In this section, let’s talk about how to write or respond to emails. If you are a professional and need to deal with a lot of clients, use the following method to master writing emails –
- This may be termed as minimalist propaganda, but this method has lots of benefits. If you use it, it will save you time, effort and will help you cut short your email time.
- Whenever you write or respond to any email problems, make sure your email should not be more than 5 sentences long. Yes, there may be emails which you need to write the whole agenda of the meeting or the transcript of a whole report. But in that case, make sure that you use an attachment (.doc or .pdf or .xls). Don’t use your email space for writing the whole thing. Because the report or agenda can be made at different times with or without the need to process emails.
- The benefits of writing just 5 sentences in an email are to save time on your part and at the same time, it will save the time of people who read your emails. So, write only 5 sentences email and no more.
If you use Gmail, you can go to settings and create labels. Creating labels will solve most of your issues with dealing with your inbox. Use the following steps to efficiently handle your inbox –
- First of all, create three labels to process. The first label would be “immediate”, second would be “important” and third would be “eliminate”.
- As you go along in your schedule time to check your emails, put them in the labels you created.
- With the emails stored in the label “immediate”, deal them immediately. And if the work is done, process it to the third label “eliminate”.
- The label “important” has more significance than any labels in your inbox. Thus, give more emphasis to this. In the label “important”, you will have emails which are long-term projects or something that needs more attention than few seconds or minutes. As you will be done with them, process them to “eliminate” label.
- Lastly, whatever you will get in “eliminate” label, see them one by one and delete them from your inbox.
- You may not use this method. Structure your own method. Most important thing is to have a method for your inbox. Any method would do if it helps you create inbox-sanity.
Be mindful while processing your emails
In this age of insane productivity, professionals have forgotten the value of mindfulness. And mastery over inbox is no concern. Even when you would think about emails or inbox, all you think about increasing your productivity. But the truth is presence is more important than productivity. If you are present, you don’t need to worry about finding the time. You have time. And with presence, now you have sanity as well. Use the following steps to be mindful while processing your inbox –
- Whenever you schedule to process your inbox, slow down. Don’t hurry. Just do it as if you are on meditation for 15-20 minutes. Be mindful of your every move.
- Don’t go to any other email account problems until you are done with one. Do deal with email problems in your inbox, one day at a time and you would see that the process would become smoother and easier.
- Whenever you reply or respond to anyone, type the sentences as if you are completely aware of how you are typing, how you are processing information in your mind and how you are addressing.
- Give more preference to presence over productivity, yes even while processing your inbox.
The above tips may not be found in a self-help book or an article dealing with inbox mastery. Inbox mastery is not about how you can categorize or process your emails (though we have mentioned that as well); it’s more about how not to lose your sanity. If you follow these tips you would see that email and inbox don’t loom large in front of you and thus you would be able to do your greatest work.
Pick any one of the above and try to implement it. See for yourself how you can help yourself dealing with the heap of email problems in your inbox effectively.
This has been a guide to solve all your email problems forever. No, they are not technical but can be implemented by anyone. These are the following external link related to email problems.