Uncluttering Your Email: 3 Common Email Mistakes and How to Solve Them

A messy inbox is a nightmare, especially when you are trying to get digitally organized. We’ve compiled a list of three common email organizing mistakes as well as tips on how to solve them.

Mistake 1: Using your email as your to-do list

Keeping a to-do list is a great idea, but using your email as a to-do list will lead to important things being forgotten or falling by the wayside.

  • How to solve it

Start scheduling your tasks. Take the time to prioritize what you need to do, and then set a date in your calendar to get this done. This time-based approach will ensure that tasks do not get out of hand.

Mistake 2: Using emails for reminders

It’s tempting to use emails as reminders. For example, an email from your doctor’s office tells you that you need to send over a medical history document — as this is now safely in your inbox, you may want to keep this here as a reminder. But what happens when you get 200 more emails and forget all about the first one? The email you used as a reminder gets lost and doesn’t get done.

  • How to solve it

When you receive an important email that you want to remember, take it out of your inbox and put the reminder straight into your calendar.    Alternatively, if you want to keep an email to refer to later on, you can archive the email without setting a specific reminder appointment.

Mistake 3: Using email as a shield

Email is an impersonal form of communication. It’s not as direct as calling someone, which means it can feel less daunting. Unfortunately, this can lead to bad habits, such as hiding behind an email rather than simply calling someone and getting the matter sorted there and then.

  • How to solve it

Recognize when to email and when to call. If you need to solve a matter urgently or discuss something difficult, make a phone call. If you need to summarize something in writing or send additional information following a meeting or conversation, turn to email. It’s also important to understand that the more emails you send out, the more you are going to receive — so this will lead to an increased workload further down the line.

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