Project number, client name, quote, deadline, volume, attachments and reference material: everything together and mixed up in the Inbox. Ever found yourself in this situation? Are you one of those people who generally organizes your e-mails, or does your Inbox look like that drawer full of mismatched socks in your dresser?
You may not pay too much attention to organizing your Inbox, but think about how all that time you spend trying to “find things” among your many messages ends up absorbing a good portion of your work day (not to mention the possible frustration you may experience when you don’t find the crucial information you need so badly).
With this in mind, we thought we would share some organization and management tips for e-mail, given that it is such a current and crucial communication tool. These include:
1- Remove excess e-mails: Take a good look at the messages in your Inbox and think of which ones you really need to keep. Are they important messages, ones that you will need one day? Or can you live (a long and prosperous life) without them?
2- Measure their relevance when deleting messages: Before trashing messages that are apparently unimportant to you, make sure that they are also not important to others. Perhaps a work colleague involved in an email exchange will need you to forward a specific message one day; who knows?
3- Avoid the ‘Reply All’ button: One of the biggest motivation killers right at the start of the work day is to open one’s Inbox and see thousands of messages unread. If it is already discouraging to see so many messages directed to you, imagine when you have nothing to do with the topic? Think before you include several addresses in your emails. Only include people that are strictly necessary for the conversation.
4- Use the Subject line smartly: Choose keywords, specific numbers or terms that are connected with the body of the message. If this is related to a project, using the number that identifies the project and the client name may also be useful and helps a lot when you need to perform random searches.
5- Avoid the back and forth: Can your recipients act immediately upon reading your message? Or does their answer require additional questions? Be objective and precise when writing. Go straight to the point and provide all the necessary information right from the start. Believe me, by doing so you will be saving yours and your recipient’s time.
6- Compartmentalize: Separate your messages by client, area of interest or topic. This will make your life a whole lot easier when you need to find something. Create an archive of your old messages, separating them by year of receipt and delivery. Some people like to create Incoming and Outgoing folders. Find out what works best for you, but don’t let your emails build up forever in your Inbox.
These are just a few simple tips, but they can make quite a difference in your daily routine. Did you think of another suggestion while reading this post? Please share it with us in the field “Leave a Reply” and then do some basic organizing of your Inbox (if you have any spare time, clean up that sock drawer too)!