Email has been around for a long time now, and can quickly become another part of your life that you just have to deal with. Before you know it, you can get stuck in your emails and get taken away from what you really need to do. So, rather than getting sidetracked and dreading the process of checking your emails, take a moment to read over the tips below and start a new way of thinking about your email that will make you more efficient.
Look at Your Emails Like You Do Paper – The better you organize your emails into a folder system, the easier it will be to keep track of what comes in. This will also help you to be able to quickly find, reference, and/or respond to the emails that you receive.
Trim the F.A.T. – F.A.T. stands for File, Act, or Toss (a method by Barbara Hemphill). This process becomes more and more effective the more that you use it. Each email you receive can be classified as one that you just need to file into the appropriate folder, act on or respond to right away (or soon after), or simply deleted once it is read. It helps to keep your inbox clean.
Read or Respond – Inbox emails are for things you need to read or respond to. You don’t want a bunch of random emails filling up your inbox. Once you receive them, take a moment to read them and decide whether or not they need a response, then file them away to reference for later (or delete them).
Your Email Is Not Your To-Do List – Do not treat your email as a to-do list or built in reminders. This will help to keep it clear and organized, and help you to not miss anything if it gets lost in the mix. If you only rely on your email as your reminder some things may not even get done. For example, you may have needed to follow up with someone in two weeks, but the email got lost in the mix of the others. As time goes on, you suddenly come across it a month later, realizing that you completely missed the follow up deadline. Instead, utilize your actual calendar and/or reminders/to-do list applications to know what things you need to work on for each day.