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Shrink your inbox – weigh in and get started.

1st Dec 2014

As we are heading towards a New Year, make sorting out your inbox one of your resolutions. On average one hour, per person is lost every working day through ineffective use of email. That’s about £4,200 of lost productivity per person, per year, at an average hourly cost of £20 – that’s a substantial and unnecessary business overhead in the current economic climate.

Here are some reasons why you should, how it will increase your productivity, and tips on how to do it! Email. It’s quickly becoming the bane of our lives, both professionally and personally. In fact recent surveys show that the average employee will spend about 41% of their time on email. With one new email arriving roughly every nine minutes its little wonder many professionals feel email just adds to the stress of the day. An inbox crammed with emails is incredibly stressful, and I should know I had 8,000 of them. If like me you sign up to every service known to man, it creates more and more junk in your inbox. Each email was like a monkey on my back, albeit an incredibly small one. Before you know it, you can become overloaded. If one of your new year’s resolutions – or goals at least – is to keep a tidier inbox, get started now by archiving those old messages you know you’ll never get around to. Zero it. Keep your inbox to an absolute minimum. If you can’t action the email straight away after reading it, place a follow up flag with a reminder. Delete any attached files from the inbox and save the file to the network drive. This way you won’t have emails languishing in your inbox forgotten and adding volume to your inbox.


  1. Get your subject line right. If your subject line is clear then this will help to reduce the amount of emails that you receive back. It will also ensure that any emails you send to others make sense and can be actioned quickly by those who receive them.


  1. Don’t be an email slave. Put aside dedicated time every time to review your inbox. In doing so gives you time and energy to focus on the other tasks.


  1. CC or not to CC. This is much overused and the cause of so much extra email traffic within our inboxes. Think carefully before adding someone in as a cc. Do they really need to be part of the email? Be respectful of your colleagues’ time.


  1. Short and sweet. Keep your emails short and only describe the action required. How often have you heard someone complaining about the number of emails they have in their inbox? The more emails that stack up, the more stressed we get. When you notice an email chain starting to get longer and longer, cut it off and try having a conversation with the people in another format. If they’re co-workers, have a meeting. If they’re friends, pick up the phone or put it in a word document. I know, radical eh? Less stress means improved performance and lets you focus on the things that really need your attention.


  1. Archiving. Put in a place a simple folder structure to help you store and retrieve reference emails quickly. This will not only help save time in filing but also in retrieving.


  1. Filter it. Who are you kidding? If you haven’t read the emails in your inbox, you’re never going to read them. No matter what email service you use there are features to filter out messages. Do yourself a favour and spend an hour on setting up filters to get junk out of your inbox


  1. Connectivity is not necessarily productivity. With so many of us having mail enabled phones, there is often pressure to reply to emails out with working hours. Leave the decisions to the morning when you will be more productive after a night’s sleep.


  1. Be ruthless and unsubscribe from all those unwanted email newsletters. The unsubscribe link can be hard to find and is often at the very bottom.


Do yourself a favour this year. There’s no reason to take a bunch of baggage from 2014 into the New Year, so give yourself the gift of a clean inbox, more productivity and time. No one gets awarded a prize for having the most unread emails in their inbox. 8,000 emails gone later, I have a big smile on my face. Invest in some good training and learn how to reduce the cost of email overload to you and the business. Contact us to find out more.

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