So it goes without saying that you get tons of emails, oh and your Executive probably gets tons of emails too! These days, we are all swimming in the sea of digital communications and most of us are drowning! Recently I have been doing a lot of research on how to maximise my time, be more productive and generally kick ass during the hours I can dedicate to work (the rest of my time is taken up with making meals that my kids don’t eat, tidying up Lego and my other half’s dirty clothes that never quite make it to the laundry bin and binge watching Orange is the New Black). One area that is my absolute weak spot is email. I am guilty of being an email addict and spending unnecessary amounts of time reading, replying and filing my emails. So today, I am sharing my 10 tips to tidy up your inbox. I am using these tips and can vouch for them!

  1. Set up a free email address (Hotmail or Gmail for example) that you can use for newsletters, updates, subscriptions etc. This means you can keep your professional inbox free from emails that you do not want to read straight away or might not have the time for. Plus, if your personal details are sold on to another mailing company you are protecting yourself from constant spam.
  2. Do not use your inbox as a to-do list, if you do – your inbox will always be full of emails waiting for a reply. Instead, archive emails that do not need your attention, answer emails quickly if they do not require too much thought and file emails that need more time for a reply. Add this action to your actual to-do list.
  3. Do set up a comprehensive filing system for your emails – not so complicated you forget where you put things, but detailed enough that every email has a home. I’ve written about my email filing system before.
  4. If you use Gmail for your emails, take a look at Boomerang a  handy plugin that schedules emails for you, takes emails out of your inbox for when you actually need them (by re-sending at a time convenient for you). The tech also sends reminders and lots of other useful stuff.
  5. Think about how you can reduce your emails and one way of doing that is to stop SENDING so many emails! Think about it, a lot of the time you are replying to emails that you sent out. Instead of sending an email, pick up the phone and call your intended recipient or even better – get up and walk over to their desk. Sometimes emails are a must, sometimes you are just being lazy!
  6. Unroll.me is the greatest thing ever. Do you have tons of newsletter subscriptions that you just delete without reading (obviously not Practically Perfect PA!) well, unroll.me shows you all of your subscriptions and magically deletes them all from your inbox. It is MAGICAL.
  7. Plan time into your day to do email management. Three times a day max I say. Like taking medicine! If you are worried that people do want you to respond straight away, ask yourself if this is really the case, or, is it just what they are used to? You can set a constant out of office message that tells people when you check your email, add that if it is urgent to call you – or swing by and see you!
  8. During your email management periods, start from the bottom of your inbox and work your way to the top. First in, first out!
  9. Followupthen is a really simple tool that lets you set reminders on specific emails. So for example, if you send an email to a colleague that requires an answer within the next three days, you can add a ‘followupthen’ reminder and then in three days you will receive a notification to contact that colleague and ask them to get a shift on with the work! It is cool, and makes you look super efficient!
  10. Download and process email attachments as soon as they come through. Again, these emails shouldn’t be hanging around your inbox. Set up a separate folder outside of your email system for documents that you have to print off, read, give to your Executive etc. There are lots of productivity platforms like IFTTT that will help you automate this process.

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