1. Stop Sending So Many Emails
Sometimes it’s much better to handle something in person or over the phone than using email. You should learn how to recognize such situations otherwise you may find yourself buried under replies to your emails. Generally, email is great for communicating well-formulated messages that require, at most, a simple confirmation. It’s much less suitable for extended group conversations where multiple participants share their thoughts with others.
2. Start Reading Your Emails Regularly
We know that the last thing you want to do before or after work is read work-related emails, but that’s how things have to be if you want to become an efficient email organizer. Depending on how many emails you receive every day, it may take just a couple of days or even hours for your inbox to start overflowing with new, unread emails. By reading your emails regularly, you ensure that the situation never gets too out of hand.
3. Start Checking Your Emails Throughout the Day
There’s no excuse for not owning a smartphone these days. Regardless of which email service you use, there’s a way how to make it work on all major mobile operating systems. Having your email on the phone allows you to easily read new emails throughout the day, which can drastically reduce the length of your scheduled email-reading sessions, the importance of which we’ve described in the previous chapter.
4. Start Using an Email Client
Web-based email services are great because you can conveniently access them from anywhere, even when far away from your own personal computer. But even the best web-based user interface can’t rival the features and convenience of dedicated email clients such as Outlook or Mailbird. Email clients are faster, can display emails from multiple email services in a single window, support keyboard shortcuts, come with powerful spellchecking capabilities, and are available for all operating systems and devices.
We’ve already mentioned Outlook and Mailbird, which are arguably the most popular email clients for Windows, but there’s also Airmail, an email client for iPhone and macOS by Italian company Bloop SRL, Postbox, a desktop email client and feed reader for Windows and macOS written and sold by Postbox, Inc., or Mozilla Thunderbird, a free and open-source cross-platform email client developed by the Mozilla Foundation, just to name a few available options.
5. Stop Subscribing to Newsletters
Websites and companies love email newsletters because they allow them to maintain engagement and sell products with minimal effort. While some newsletters are clearly valuable, most, sooner or later, end up being ignored. You may think that it’s no big deal to subscribe to a newsletter-after all, you can always unsubscribe later-but experience tells us that things tend to become unmanageable much quicker than it initially seems. We recommend you stop subscribing to all newsletters as a rule of thumb and use other communication channels instead to receive information from websites and companies, such as social media networks or RSS.
6. Start Using Multiple Mailboxes
Why have just one mailbox for everything when you can have several and use a different one for each of the things you do. You can start, for example, with one mailbox for work-related emails and one mailbox for personal emails. Some people like to take things further and use a privacy-oriented email service such as ProtonMail for potentially sensitive personal communication and a free and convenient email service such as Gmail for web services and online shopping. Another advantage of this approach comes in the form of better security. Having some degree of separation between various activities minimizes the impact of an email breach and gives malicious hackers less information to work with.
We know for a fact that spam accounts for 45 percent of all emails sent. We also know that about 14.5 billion spam emails are sent every single day, many being some form of advertising. To say that spam emails lead to a productivity loss would be an understatement.