5 Ways to De-clutter Your Inbox

The average employee now receives 78 emails per day, with projections putting the total number at almost 100 by 2015. That's a lot of email, and can lead to the kind of massive email clutter that destroys productivity and effectiveness. Remember—email is supposed to be a tool that helps you be more productive, not a chore that drains an hour of your time every morning. Use these five tips to help keep email clutter from overwhelming you.

1. Use Email for Email

Email is all about communication. Unfortunately, too many people also use it as a combination appointment reminder system, date planner, file transfer app, cloud storage, instant messenger, and who knows what else. While you can do all of these things with email, the end result is a cluttered inbox that makes actual communication difficult and frustrating. So next time you're about to email yourself a file to take home, pause before hitting that send button and pull up a cloud storage page instead.

2. Filter

Most email providers or applications allow for some pretty complex and intelligent filtering. So why do so few people use them? Find out how filtering and sorting rules work in your email software, and set them up to automatically push messages from your inbox to a more intelligent location. Try to set things up so that only the most important messages actually stay on the front page of your inbox. The rest should be categorised and filed for later reviewing!

3. Use Apps to Do the Heavy Lifting

Most webmail providers and email applications now have plenty of third party plugins and apps to make the process of going through your email much easier and more productive. Some allow you to see when the email you've sent has been opened, while others fill in contact information from the public social media profiles of people you've emailed. Figure out what would help you keep your inbox the cleanest, then find the app or plugin that helps you do that.

4. Forget Inbox Zero

The latest trend is to try to clear out your email inbox as quickly as possible, and leave it completely empty. That might not be the best solution, though. The idea of going through your email and trying to get rid of it as quickly as possible seems appealing, but opens you up for letting things fall through the cracks, adds stress to the email process, and focuses on clearing the inbox just for the sake of clearing the inbox. Instead, focus on doing your job, and look at email as an extension of that, not a core responsibility.

5. Don't Start With Email

This may seem counter-intuitive, but don't begin your work day by checking your email. That's right—just forget about it (unless there's something really urgent in your Urgent filtered folder). Focusing on email first thing in the morning can completely sidetrack you from your most important project of the day, and that loss of productivity can lead to the whole day being taken over by distractions. Instead, wait for a natural break in what you're doing before really hitting the inbox.

About the Author

Geoff Stewart is a highly experienced and skilled Technology Director at Surety IT. His knowledge is based on years of industry experience having created customised, stable, well performing systems both for multi-national companies in the UK and Australia and Surety IT customers.

Surety IT can help you create the right system to enhance your business, ensuring you know how it is right for you and how to use it. We will tailor a solution to suit your needs with leading systems, local support and more, building your vision for a more flexible and capable business.

Call us today on 1300 478 738 or email info@suretyit.com.au to discuss your requirements.