Reclaim Your Life
Most of us have multiple email accounts already. Some common ways people divide up their email accounts is by:
- Grab bag (ie, used for subscriptions, online shopping)
And most of us still have a lot of incoming email that often makes us feel overwhelmed, out-of-control, behind and/or missing out.
I’m putting together a series of blog posts that will center around a distillation of email management tips & tricks I’ve read about or put together myself.
One of the most powerful things I put together and use regularly for all my email accounts is four sub-folders:
When I choose to check my Inbox a couple of times per day (not constantly), I take decisive action with each email that has arrived by heavily using these four sub-folders. My Inbox rarely has much in it over time because I practice this habit regularly.
I definitely have learned & used some of this “in the trenches.” At my last job, I was in a middle management position in high tech. It was pretty typical for me to receive 800 or more emails each day with various notifications, meeting requests, calls to action, follow-ups on projects, etc. You either learn to manage your Inbox OR it will manage you each day. The choice is yours and now you have some tips to put into place.
Here’s roughly what I use each sub-folder for:
- These are really your ‘hot’ items. Things that YOU need to get done or do something with in the next day or two. Truly important, truly timely and truly prioirities as you’ve defined them
- These need a bit more of your time to read & work through within the next 2 weeks to a month. They may later get ditched or delegated BUT you need some time to determine that. Put them here so you can periodically check for ones to pick off OR move yourself into ACTION because it’s time
- These are not super important or urgent but may be of use in the future, without a timeframe. You visit this folder on occasion when deciding on future projects or things to consider in the future
- This is specifically for when you’ve handed something explicitly off to someone OR are awaiting action from someone else. This folder is often where an email thread goes when it starts in your ACTION folder, you’ve taken a step and now are waiting for someone else. It’s your go-to folder when you need to do follow-ups or check on things from others
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article that focused on Inbox management to help you (electronically) reclaim your life! The less time you have to spend sorting & pawing through emails, the more time you can focus on the priorities of your choosing.