Top 5 Ways to Get a Handle on Your Inbox

When we first started this blog (over three years ago! time flies…) we posted several Top 5 lists for good email management.  Since then, the problem of email overload has only become worse.  Per a recent Radicati Group study, by 2009 average corporate email users are expected to spend 41% of their time just managing email.  Utilize the inbox management tips below to help manage this flood of information. 

1. Prioritize messages to insure that important email is addressed first.
Use automated tools to order by priority. Identify important people or keywords and use rules to organize messages. 

2. Limit your CC’s and replies to all.
Only copy people on emails who really need to get the email.  This prevents wasting other people’s time, increases message quality level and reduces the number of responses back to you.

3. Only touch an email once.
Try to touch an email message one time only. Where possible, respond on first read and file away in an appropriate folder. If the message requires further attention, convert to a task or appointment and get it out of your Inbox. 

4. Read the entire thread before responding.
There are often several responses to an email thread during the course of a day. Read all items in the thread before crafting a response. Sort the inbox by title when addressing a message with a lot of responses. 

5. Don’t become a slave to email.
Set aside times to manage email (say, 9 AM, Noon, and 4 PM) and stay away the rest of the day. Using the email management principles above, you will get through your inbox quicker, address all issues within a given thread and your colleagues will still be impressed with your response time.