I count myself lucky. I spent the first 15 years of my career free of the tyranny of the email inbox. For some reason, my profession back then (journalism) wasn’t big on emails.
But when I entered the corporate sector, well, goodbye empty inbox!
Here are some rules I keep to stay calm amidst the email deluge:
Clear your inbox once a week
Inbox zero is not a myth. In my previous post, I outline how I keep my inbox empty at the end of each week. My Inbox Zero system not just keeps me sane and organised but reduces a whole load of stress and anxiety.
Check your inbox at set times a day
I check my inbox at around 11am and 4pm every day. I take about half an hour to respond or file my emails each time. It’s not always possible to deal with the mass of email in that short span of time, but I try. The rule is to not constantly check your email. That, my friends, lies the path to madness.
Have a cut off time for receiving responding to emails
I don’t respond or send out emails from 7pm-8am. This has been a challenge to implement, I have to admit. There’s a paranoid side of me that’s afraid of missing crucial emails which causes the world to collapse. Still, I find this rule crucial to maintain any kind of work/life balance.
Templates are a life saver
If you find yourself sending out a certain kind of email over and over again, perhaps it is time to create an email template. They are great time savers! (How to create an email template in Outlook.)
If you’re like me, you’re cc-ed in a bazillion emails that you don’t have to act on or respond to. A lot of these emails are “for you to know”. I usually write down the gist of these messages in my bullet journal because the act of writing it down helps you remember it better, and it’s also a convenient place to check for content instead of sorting through hundreds of emails.